Tag Archives: contrast staining

Oh, Donna, I Wish I Read the Instructions First


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

https://www.facebook.com/roadrunnerpipes

I remembered glancing at a blog Steve wrote about various methods for cleaning Perspex stems, but if I ever got to the most important lesson his years of work with the less forgiving form of acrylic taught him, I forgot it: “that you are never to use alcohol on Perspex!”  I’m not going to flagellate myself for waiting to revisit the blog until it was too late for my La Rocca Donna, but cripes, I wish I had not!  There are kinder, gentler ways to clean up the type of impenetrable brown mess that only long accretion of tobacco, nicotine and saliva can wreak on the airway of a stem that was once uncorrupted in its clarity, other than the standard approach I took.  Oh, well.  Lesson learned.  At least I seem to have avoided the tiny cracks in the stem that can result from contact with alcohol, but I suspect that some of the discoloration may have been fixed into the Perspex.

RESTORATION This time, I’ll begin with the stem, to be done with the bad part – not that it didn’t turn out okay. The first thing I did was pour some Everclear – not just Isopropyl – into a dish, the quicker to soak cleaners and run them through.  In the words of a former co-worker who always kept me laughing, “In the name of all that’s sacred, what was I thinking?”  And I was so pleased by the great progress I made!I must turn to the stummel now in order to show the natural progression of my folly, although it all went fine for the briar.I reamed and scraped the chamber, then sanded with 60-grit paper and scrubbed it and the shank with more Everclear.Using 400-grit paper on the rim made it clear that, once again, my roommate’s propensity for inflicting violence on helpless, loyal pipes had ruined it, short of an ad lib sandblast effect. I did that once on a pipe that had nothing to lose and even surprised my old mentor. He had the audacity to look as if he doubted me! At any rate I liberated Donna here for someone more loving. Deciding on a smooth finish for the rim, I went down to 60-grit followed by a 120/180 pad, 220, 320, 400, 600 and 1000. Now, to add injury to insult to the stem, I boiled more Everclear through the pipe in a retort.Afterward, I found Steve’s blog and cringed as I read it.  I micro meshed the rim, stained it with Fiebing’s British Tan leather dye and buffed off the char with 3600 and 4000 micro mesh. I applied Decatur Pipe Shield.I found a close equivalent to soft scrub for the stem with some generic gloopy stain remover. It did no harm and even helped a tiny bit, and it did a remarkable job of making the outside of the Perspex sparkle with no other effort. In the end, this La Rocca turned out nicely.  But now my Donna will surely leave me. SOURCE
https://rebornpipes.com/2016/07/08/a-collection-of-methods-for-cleaning-clear-perspex-stems/comment-page-1/#comment-35918

The Mystery of a Sterling Imported Briar Continues


by Robert M. Boughton

https://www.facebook.com/roadrunnerpipes

In my online quest for any information whatsoever concerning a Sterling Imported Briar pipe – brand, model or even a whisper in a smoker’s forum – I went full tilt boogie.  In the end, I added “rebornpipes” to the Google search.  If it weren’t for Steve’s blog about a Sterling Imported Briar author a while back, I would have come up empty handed.  Steve’s research was much more meticulous and imaginative.  Nevertheless, his only definite conclusion was that his pipe was a US import, but “How it came to have a British Hallmarked Silver band on the shank is shrouded in mystery and I will probably never figure out the connection.”

RESTORATION
The briar was a little dirty and dinged, and there were some imperfections such as small fills.  Serious work was needed on the chamber and rim.  With the usual care, the stem would be fine.  A little stinger in the tenon was not special enough to keep.  For whatever reason, including the possibility that the stem was a replacement, the tenon was too big for the shank.  Despite the words sterling silver on the band and the name of the billiard, the metal was something less than sterling and would have to go – another indication that prior fiddling was done.  The band ended up being the last problem I fixed. The band slid off before the alcohol soak of the stummel.I gave the stem an OxiClean bath. Sanding with 400, 600 and 1000 paper followed by micro meshing made the stem much better.  I took the tenon diameter enough to fit all the way in the shank.Here is the stummel after the alcohol soak. I reamed and sanded the chamber with 60-grit paper. I used the same coarse paper on the rim before smoothing it with 220 and 320.I discovered a slight problem when the 14.5mm real sterling silver band I ordered arrived, due to my error, of course, not Vermont Freehand’s. I needed 15mm instead of the exact diameter of the stem opening.Careful not to ruin the crisp nomenclature, I took off 0.5mm with 60-grit and smoothed it with everything up to 400.  The exposure on the first shot below is way off.  I retorted the pipe, stained the stummel with Fiebing’s Moccasin Brown leather dye and buffed with micro mesh from 3600-12000. It was time to Super Glue the new band on.

All that was left were buffing the stem and stummel with Red Tripoli and carnauba and polishing the band with Wright’s Silver Cream. SOURCE
https://rebornpipes.com/tag/sterling-imported-briar-pipes/

Restemming & Restoring a French Made GBD Sauvage 1345 Poker/Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was another bowl from my box of bowls to restem. It is a different looking bowl that combines both a Pot and a Poker shape. It has a inward beveled rim, flat bottom and worm trails curled around the bowl sides. When I examined the shank it had a small hairline crack on the right side that would need to be repaired but otherwise it was solid. It was unique enough I wanted to work on it. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and has a GBD oval logo next to the bowl/shank union followed by Sauvage. On the right side of the shank it is stamped FRANCE [over] the shape number 1345. The stamping was clear and readable with a lens. The bowl had been cleaned and reamed somewhere along the way by either Jeff or me. I honestly don’t remember when or where we got this bowl. It looked very good and I was looking forward to seeing the finished pipe. The stem was long gone so this would be a restemming job. I took some photos of the bowl to give a sense of the condition of bowl. The stamping was on both sides of the shank and it is clear and readable as noted above. I have also drawn a red rectangle around the area where the crack in the shank is located in the photo below.The next photo shows the rounded rim top and edges. It also shows the condition of the bowl and rim top/edges. It is clean and looks quite good. There is some burn damage on the inner edge of the bowl and on the beveled rim top at the front and the back of the bowl.Now it was time to begin my restemming work on this pipe. I went through my can of stems and chose a stem that would work. I would need to remove some the diameter of the tenon and the saddle portion to fit the thin almost pencil shank of the pipe. I used a flat file to remove the small amount of excess on the tenon. It was a close fit but I did not want to make the crack in the shank worse by a tenon that was not correct.When I had finished shaping the tenon I sanded it with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and inserted it in the shank. It was looking pretty good. I would need to trim back some of the diameter of the saddle portion but I liked it! I generally use a Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the stem. I do this with the stem in place on the shank so that I do not overdo it. It is a touchy exercise and one slip and I could easily damage the shank and make more work for myself. I move carefully and take it back as close as I can at this point. Once I band the shank I will need to do some more work on it but it is starting to look right. With the fit close enough it was time to band the shank. I generally do the final adjustments on the stem diameter after I have fit the band in place. I picked a band out that would fit when heated. I took a photo of the crack in the shank to show what I was working with. I sanded the shank end and gave it a slight bevel to facilitate pressing the band in place. Once it was ready I put the band on the shank. It was tight so I heated it with a lighter and when it had expanded I pressed it against the pad on my desk and pushed it all the way onto the shank. It covered the “e” on Sauvage slightly but the length of the crack defined what I needed to band it. I used some 220 grit sandpaper to once again take a little bit off the diameter of the tenon and the band compresses the crack and the diameter of the mortise changes. When I was finished I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the newly banded shank. It was going to look good once I finished shaping the stem diameter but it is very close at this point. What do you think of the new look? I finished adjusting the fit of stem diameter with 220 grit sandpaper and everything was aligned. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and the stem was looking very good at this point. Now I needed to deal with the tooth marks and chatter on the end of the stem. I “painted” them with the flame of a lighter to lift them as much as possible. I filled in the ones that remained with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I flattened out the repairs with a small flat file. I followed that by sanding the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it with a cotton cloth. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem finished (other than to buff the pipe at the end)I set it aside and I turned my attention to the bowl. I used a wooden ball that Kenneth gave me with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the bevel. I finished with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to further minimize the burn damage. I touched up the stain with an Oak Stain pen to match the surrounding briar of the bowl. It looked much better at this point. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris left behind. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the smooth and worm trails on the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain really took on dimension and colour. I am excited to be on the homestretch with this petite French Made GBD Sauvage 1345 Poker/Pot. This is the part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and the new stem together and polished the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the vulcanite and give a light shine to the bowl. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The worm trail carving on the bowl actually looks okay with the rest of the smooth finish. The banded shank and new polished black saddle vulcanite stem works well with this little sitter. This GBD Sauvage Poker/Pot was another fun pipe to work on and came out looking great. It is a comfortable sized pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33 grams/1.16 ounces. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack it will be on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipemakers Section soon. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Firing Up the Carburetor


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is an amazing, old Yello-Bole Carburetor. It has lovely proportions and very nice lines. It was clearly a well-made pipe, but it was a mess. It came to me in a lot off of Craigslist, here in the Vancouver area. There were several interesting pipes in this lot, but I grabbed this one because I wanted to learn more about carburetor systems in pipes. This seemed like a good starting point. The pipe turned out beautifully, but it was not clear that that was going to be the case when I started! This is a bent-egg-shaped pipe – and a really pretty one too. It felt very nice. There is plenty of information to be had on Yello-Bole pipes, but this one is slightly tricky to date. The markings on the left of the shank read Yello-Bole [over] Carburetor [over] Genuine Briar. On the right side of the shank is the model number 9567. Also, on the stem, there is a whitish circle, unlike the yellow circles of old. RebornPipes has a few write-ups on Yello-Bole Carburetors, but none quite like this one. I believe this pipe to be a bit newer than the previous restorations – certainly dating after 1955 and before 1972. I say “certainly” because when S.M. Frank & Co. Inc. bought out Yello-Bole et al from KB&B in 1955, they ceased using the KB&B clover-leaf logo. This pipe does not have the clover. The history of Yello-Bole’s carburetor system is quite interesting. I am borrowing from an old post of Steve’s to relay the following information:

I decided to look up the patents on the US Patent site and see what I could find about about them and the date they were filed (https://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm). I searched first for the US. Pat. 2,082,106 that was stamped on the top and left side of the shank. I assumed it referred to the Patent for the Carburetor but I was not certain. I found a drawing and description of the carburetor system of a patent filed by R. Hirsch on April 21, 1936 and granted on June 1, 1937. I have included those pages below. For those interested in the problematic dating of Yello-Bole pipes, please refer to this link which has some useful information: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/kaywoodie/dating-yello-bole-pipes-t86.html.

Anyway, on to the pipe, and – as I mentioned – it was very attractive, but a bit of a mess. The stem was dark and dreary. It had significant oxidation and plenty of tooth chatter and scratches. Meanwhile, the stummel also had some problems. There was plenty of lava on the rim, some small burns, cake in the bowl, and a few scratches here-and-there. The staining of the wood needed to be revivified too. The finish on the wood had come off in spots and that was going to need attention. Also, the carburetor itself was impregnated with gunk. This pipe was going to require quite a bit of elbow grease, but I was looking forward to working on this one. It is a pipe that still has many decades of use in it.

The stem was first on my list. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. This was somewhat successful in raising the damage. Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub on cotton pads (and a toothbrush) to remove the leftover oxidation. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up some tiny dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.I also decided to paint the “O” on the stem with some white nail polish. This sort of “paint” works very well in filling in the markings and is quite resistant to wear-and-tear.This stummel was quite a mess. The lava on the rim was so substantial that I first gently scraped it with a knife to remove as much as possible. I then decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took it down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was a lot of nastiness inside this stummel and – boy-oh-boy – it took a lot of cotton to get this thing clean! I also used some cotton balls, isopropyl alcohol, and a straight pin to clean the carburetor. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some castile soap and tube brushes. But that was just the inside! I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap, a toothbrush, and some cotton pads. Wow – I got a lot of filth off the stummel and I began to see some signs of real beauty in the wood. A sign of good things to come! But I still needed to address the patchy finish on the wood. It may have looked good once upon a time, but no longer. So, I opted to soak the stummel in isopropyl alcohol for a few hours. This will usually remove the sort of deteriorating finish I was faced with. When I took the stummel out of the alcohol bath, I scrubbed the wood with a brush (to remove any remnants) and left it to dry. In order to remove the lingering bits of finish (and eliminate any nicks on the rim), I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. I opted to carry on sanding the whole stummel with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to even everything out. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to finish it off. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. There is some beautiful wood after all – and look at that bird’s-eye! On to another problem: the colour. During the course of its previous life and my vigorous cleaning, this pipe had lost some vibrancy of colour. So, in order to accentuate the external beauty of this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied some of Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye. As usual, I applied flame from a BIC lighter in order to set the colour. What a difference that made! It looked so much better with a fresh coat of stain.I applied some Before & After Restoration Balm and then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood very attractive. This is a very elegant pipe and will provide many years of smoking pleasure.

This Yello-Bole Carburetor is back to its old glory and ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner. I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘American’ pipe makers section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 5¾ in. (145 mm); height 2¾ in. (50 mm); bowl diameter 1⅛ in. (29 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1⅜ oz. (40 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restoring Parker’s Super Bruyere 63 Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction on 04/04/19 from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, USA. It is a nice looking Parker Super Bruyere Lovat with a saddle stem. The bowl has a rich reddish brown colour combination that highlights grain. It has been coated with varnish that is spotty and shiny. The pipe has some grime ground into the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the sides of the shank. On the left it reads 63 followed by Parker [over] Super in a Diamond [over] Bruyere. On the right it read Made in London [over] England followed by a 4 in a circle that is the group size. The saddle stem has no marking. There is a thick cake in the bowl and some overflow of lava on the edges of the rim top. The rim top looks okay but the inner edge is damaged/burned on the front and back of the bowl. There were some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the vulcanite stem near the button. The pipe looks to good under the grime. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the cake and the lava coat. The inner edge of the bowl has some darkening and lava on the inner bevel. The top and outer edge also look okay. It is a dirty pipe but obviously one that was a great smoker. He also captured the condition of the stem. It is lightly oxidized, calcified in the groove of the button and has tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. You can see the grime ground into the surface of the briar.   He took photos of the stamping on the side of the shank. They are clear and readable as noted above. The photos show the sides of the shank. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to look at the Parker write up there and see if I could learn anything about the line (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-parker.html). There was a portion of the listing that was for Parker Super Bruyere Pipes. I have drawn a red box around the pipe that matches the stamping on the pipe.From the above screen capture I learned that the pipe I was working on was a more recent Parker Super Bruyere without a date stamp.

I looked up the Parker brand on Pipedia to see if I could find the Parker’s Bruyere there or at least the possessive Parker’s stamping (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Parker).

Dating – Prior to Word War II, the possessive PARKER’S stamp was used. However, at least some pipes were stamped with the non-possessive as early as 1936.

Like Dunhill, Parker pipes are date stamped, but differently than Dunhill. The Parker date code always followed the MADE IN LONDON over ENGLAND stamping. The first year’s pipes (1923) had no date code; from 1924 on it ran consecutively from 1 to 19.

There is no indication of a date code for the war years. Parker was not a government approved pipe manufacturer, while Dunhill and Hardcastle were. During the war years Parker manufactured the “Wunup” pipe made of Bakelite and clay.

The pipe that I was working on was stamped Parker without the possessive stamping. As there are no date stamps on the pipe it either was made during the war years or shortly after. It is definitely a newer pipe.

It was time to work on the pipe. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. The pipe looked very good when it arrived. Interestingly there was some spotty varnish on the bowl and part of the shank.  I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top shows a lot of damage to the inner edge. The bowl is out of round and the burn on the front extends onto the rim top. The vulcanite saddle stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges. The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.    I removed the stem and the extension from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a nice looking Lovat that should clean up very well.The first photo below shows the condition of the rim top and inner edge when I started reworking it. I reshaped the top and the bowl edges with a piece of sandpaper on a wooden ball. The ball and sandpaper helped clean up the beveled edge and blended in the burn and cuts in the briar as well as bring the bowl back into round. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to further shape the bowl. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad.     I used a Walnut and a Maple stain pen to blend the colours on the rim top to match the rest of the bowl and shank. Once the stain cures I will buff it out and it should be a good match.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.     I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was in good condition and the light marks and chatter should polish out easily. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This nicely grained Parker Super Bruyere 63 Lovat with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Parker’s Lovat is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.16 ounces /33 grams. This Parker’s Super Bruyere Lovat is another great find our hunts. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. Look for it in the British Pipe Makers section. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Working on Hardcastle’s Special Quality Sandblast Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen to work on was purchased from an antique dealer on 02/23/18 in Naples, Florida, USA. I have worked on a lot of Hardcastle’s over the years but most of them have been Jack’ O London and other lower end ones. This is a Sandblast Billiard that is quite nice. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads SPECIAL QUALITY [over] BY HARDCASTLE. That is followed by the stamping Made in London [over] England. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident. The taper stem also bears the Hardcastle’s “H” logo on the left side. The bowl had a thick cake and there was a lava overflow on the rim top filling in the sandblast. The inner edge of the rim was damaged and slightly out of round. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks and chatter on both sides at the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the inner edge and rim top of the bowl. I am hoping that the thick lava coat protected things underneath it from damage to the edges and top. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching, calcification and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the deep sandblast on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years.Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable as noted above. I turned first to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-hardcastle.html) and found a pipe with the same stamping as the one that I am working on. There was no extra information in the side bars but it was good to see the same stamping.I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Hardcastle).

Hardcastle was founded in 1908 by Edmund Hardcastle and built itself a good reputation among the numerous British mid-graders. In 1935 Dunhill started to build a factory next door to Hardcastle in Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17. The family owned Hardcastle Pipes Limited sold 49% of its equity to Dunhill In 1936.

Along with closing down its pipe factory in Notting Hill in 1946 Dunhill bought the remaining shares, turning Hardcastle into a 100% Dunhill subsidiary. As members of the Hardcastle family continued as executives in the company’s management Hardcastle retained a certain independence.

This ended in 1967. Dunhill merged Hardcastle with Parker (100% Dunhill as well). The new Parker Hardcastle Limited also absorbed the former Masta Patent Pipe Company. Hardcastle’s Forest Road plant was immediately given up and the production of Hardcastle pipes was shifted to Parker’s nearby St. Andrews Road factory – now consequently called Parker-Hardcastle factory.

In fact this put a definite end to Hardcastle as an own-standing pipe brand, and none other than Edwin Hardcastle, the last of the family executives, spoke frankly and loudly of Hardcastle pipes being degenerated to an inferior Dunhill second.

Today Hardcastle pipes use funneled down bowls that are not deemed suitable to bear the Dunhill or even the Parker name (as well as obtaining briar from other sources).

Timeline

  • 1903: Edmund Hardcastle establishes the brand
  • 1936: Family sells 49% of the Hardcastle Pipes Limited shares to Dunhill
  • 1946: Dunhill buys the remaining shares, but the family continues to manage the company
  • 1967: Dunhill merges Hardcastle with Parker. The new Parker-Hardcastle Limited company absorbs the Masta Patent Pipe Company also.
  • After 1967 it is speculated that Hardcastle became the brand for “Parker Seconds”

John Loring states in “The Dunhill Briar Pipe – ‘the patent years and after'” that in the absence of sales receipts, or other items of provenance, Hardcastles cannot be accurately dated. Loring further states that he knows of no way to distinguish the briar source when looking at Hardcastle, Parker, or Parker-Hardcastle pipes. We should not expect to find any actual Dunhill production in these lines, and while one might be there, it is doubtful we will ever be able to determine it…

With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on a Family Period Pipe and one that was stamped Special Quality. It appears that it can be dated between 1903-1946 when the company was sold in full to Dunhill. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some damage to the inner edge of the bowl and some colour loss to the outer edge. Jeff soaked the stem in bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver and I finally started my work on it I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was out of round on the back right side. The outer rim showed some colour loss during the clean up. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. There was some remaining oxidation near the shank and the tooth marks and chatter were evident near the button on both sides.I took a picture of the stamping on the shank sides and it was all clear and readable as noted above. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the stem. It is a good looking pipe and very unique. The stinger apparatus is damaged and fell out when I removed the stem.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage on the inner edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner edge to bring it back into round and clean up the damage. I restained the outer and inner edge with a Walnut stain pen to match the surrounding briar.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the surface of the vulcanite. I was able to lift all of them. The rest would polish out with micromesh pads. I used some white acrylic fingernail polish to touch up the white stamped “H” on the left side of the stem. I rubbed it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I scraped off the excess and buffed it with a cotton pad and a 1500 grit micromesh pad. There was still oxidation that was quite deep and the stem was dull. I scrubbed it with Soft Scrub Cleanser on a cotton pad and was able to remove the remaining oxidation. It looked much better at this point. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the Special Quality By Hardcastle’s Billiard back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really a nice looking sandblast highlighted by the combination of walnut and mahogany stains. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.34 ounces /38 grams. This Special Quality By Hardcastle’s Billiard was a great find. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipe Makers section soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

What a Challenge – A Once Beautiful Pipeworks Unique by Elliot Nachwalter


Blog by Steve Laug

This next pipe was a gift from a friend. He contacted me about a  pipe he wanted to give me. He sent some photos of the pipe. It was a beautiful shaped Pipeworks creation, hand made by Elliot Nachwalter. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Pipeworks [over] New York City [over] USA. On the right side of the shank it read Made by Hand [over] Elliot Nachwalter. Near the stem is stamped a number that I assume is the date/shape stamp. It reads 6 81 which could easily be 6th pipe of 1981 or a pipe made in June of 1981. The pipe has some issues that really don’t show up to well except in the second photo below. There were really just a few of them but they were big ones. The pipe had what looked to be a trough like groove with a crack in the bottom around at least the left side and front of the bowl judging from his photos. It was probably even worse in person than it appeared in the photos. I thought it would be a challenge for me to deal with during some time off over Christmas so he put it in the mail for me. He told me that he had originally purchased it to restore but when it arrived he figured it was beyond his capabilities. That always scares me a bit when someone says that as I am not sure I am all that capable either sometimes. Once it arrives I will know more for sure.The next photo shows some of the crack/trough mid bowl extending from the back of the bowl across the side and around to the front. All around the damaged area the briar had darkened as well. It is a shame as it is a really beautiful pipe. I am guessing that it was smoked very hot but I would have a better idea once I had in hand and cleaned out the bowl.The rim top and edges looked very good and the stem was surprisingly in good shape. There were some light tooth marks next to the button that really were not an issue.Yesterday when I came home from work the pipe was waiting for me. I was excited to see it in person so I took it to the basement worktable and opened the box. I took photos of the pipe as I examined the crack/trough and was not surprised to see that they went all the way around the bowl – left, right, front and rear of the bowl. Other than that the finish looked good. The rim top was in good condition. The bowl had a thin cake that would need to go so I could check out the inner walls to see if the cracks had come through. The stem looked good and sure enough there were some tooth marks and chatter on the stem as noted above – a little heavier on the underside than the topside. This would be a fun challenge as it was a beautiful pipe and one made by a favourite pipe maker of mine – Elliot Nachwalter. I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl so you can see how they look. I captured the stem as well to try to show the tooth marks and chatter near the button.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. It was clear and readable as noted above (They are far more readable than can be seen in the photos below). There was also the classic Nachwalter snowflake (star) logo on the left side of the saddle stem.I took a series of photos of the trough around the bowl sides. It was a complete loop that had one small trail splitting off down the left front side of the bowl. There was a hairline crack in bottom of the groove that would need to be dealt with. I removed the stem from the shank to give a sense of the unique elegance of the shape of the pipe. I really like the look of it.I turned to Pipephil’s site to look up information on the brand to identify the period of time when Nachwalter made the pipe. I turned first to the section on Elliot Nachwalter’s name (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-e2.html#elliotnachwalter) to see what it said. It is interesting in that I shows a pipe made in Vermont whereas the one I have says New York City USA.I turned then to the section of the site on Pipeworks as that is also stamped on the pipe I am working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p3.html#pipeworks). Sure enough the site showed a pipe that was stamped the same way as the one I have. It is shown in the screen capture below. The stem logo looks more like the pipe above than the one below.I also learned that the pipe was crafted during the period (1980-1995) when Elliot Nachwalter and his ex-wife Carol Burns owned the Wilke Pipeshop in NYC. So now I had a time period for the pipe. I wonder if the stamping on my pipe 6 81 helps to date it to 1981?

From there I turned to Pipedia for a bit more information (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Nachwalter). The site quoted from both Lopes book and from Nachwalter’s website and had a lot of great historical information. I quote portions of it below.

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by Jose Manuel Lopés’

Elliott Nachwalter studied the History of Art and Photography, but passionate about pipes, decided to go into pipe making. With a few tools and some machinery, he started his workshop some 25 years ago (that would be 35 years ago now, as of 2015), in Stowe, Vermont, where he shared a warehouse with Andrew Marks. He later created Briar Workshop with Jorg Jemelka, and was joined by the Danish designer Finn Meyan Andersen. They also collaborated with various artisans, such as Brad Pohlmann, J.T. Cooke, and Carol Burns.

Between 1980 and 1983, Elliot had a shop in New York where he would make and sell his pipes There then followed an interregnum — “For three years I was away from my craft, not knowing if I would ever make pipes again” –, after which he returned to Vermont and built Pipestudio. Aim: “to create sensual pipes, beautifully grained that are pleasing to the eye” and which would be “the creation of sculpted smoking instruments that are functional pieces of art”.

He uses Briar from Italy and Greece; and vulcanite, acrylic, or Cumberland stems. Symbol: a kind of six-pointed star…

…In 1980 I opened a store in New York City and designed and made pipes in the back of the store for pipe smokers that visited me from around the world. I worked late into the night. There came a time when I felt the need to stop making pipes. For three years I was away from my craft, not knowing if I would ever make pipes again. Something was missing. Perhaps I was missing the struggle of the creative process and the pure joy that one feels when you make something turn out exactly as imagined in your mind’s eye. I suppose I needed to make pipes; I needed to work late into the night.

In the autumn of ’96 as the falling leaves mixed with the early snowfall, I built a small studio overlooking the Battenkill and surrounded by the Taconic and Green mountains.

It is my desire to create sensual pipes, beautifully grained that are pleasing to the eye. I work with only the rarest of briar burls that are seasoned in a manner that allows for a minimal break in period and a very smooth smoking pipe. The briar grows in the wild and there is a remarkable difference in grain between each block . This variance of grain together with the myriad of designs in my mind and the nature of the work, makes for truly one of a kind pipes. The essence of my work is in the creation of sculpted smoking instruments that are functional pieces of art.

So once again the time period for the pipe that I have was confirmed as being made between 1980 when Elliot was in New York City and 1996 when he left to build a workshop in Vermont. I love it when the information comes together.

Now it was time to work on this old timer. I started my work by highlighting the crack and groove around the bowl sides. I sanded the entire groove all around the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. In the photos that follow you can see the cracked area very clearly. I left the sanding dust in place on the bowl and filled in the crack with clear CA glue. I was not too concerned with further cracking around the bowl as it was complete circle – the ends of the crack were joined. I was more concerned with heat from smoking forcing the cracking deeper into the interior of the bowl. The photos tell the story of the repair. Once the glue cured I sanded it smooth to blend it into the surrounding briar. I refilled any spots that still showed damage with more CA glue. I sanded them smooth as well. The bowl was starting to look quite good. I sanded it further with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge to blend the repairs into the surrounding briar. The grain really began to stand out. With that done I called it a night and when I woke early this morning I made a mixture of Oxalic Acid and water. I wiped down the darkened areas on the sides of the bowl to lighten them as much as possible. The mixture worked wonders and the pipe looked much better. There was one small spot on the crack shown in the second photo that I needed to touch up with the CA glue.With the externals repaired I turned my attention to the bowl. I reamed it with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned that up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I wanted the cake removed so I could check out the inside walls. I finished reaming process by sanding the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. I cleaned out the airway in the stem and shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I scrubbed the walls of the bowl with alcohol at the same time. I examined the walls and bottom of the bowl with a bright light. There were not cracks on the internal walls that matched those around the bowl sides and front. There was however some checking on the back wall directly behind the cracks on the back of the bowl. I cleaned those carefully to remove all the debris. I am pretty certain that the heat followed the checking out to the exterior and during repeated hot smoking followed the path of least resistance all the way around the bowl. I think I found the internal source. I would need to do an internal repair to the bowl to stop further cracking from the inside.I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads in preparation for staining the pipe. I stained the bowl with a light brown aniline stain. I applied it with a dauber and then flamed it with a lighter to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.I went upstairs and had lunch with my wife. The stain cured for an hour while I dined. I wiped the bowl down with cotton pads and isopropyl alcohol to make the finish more transparent and show the grain around the bowl and shank. I was liking the colour and the coverage at this point. I then polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads once again this time to make it even more transparent – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain stood out nicely and the repairs were well hidden at this point! It was looking very good. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I really like what I was seeing!I mixed a batch of JB Weld to line the interior of the bowl. I blended the two parts of the product together with a dental spatula and applied it to the walls of the bowl with a folded pipe cleaner. Before I started that though I inserted a pipe cleaner in the shank to keep the airway open in the bottom of the bowl. JB Weld cures neutral and does not gas off when heated. Once it cures I sand it smooth leaving it in the checking and cracks of the bowl walls. I give it a bowl coating of sour cream and activated charcoal powder to further protect the walls until a cake is formed. I set the bowl aside to let the wall repairs cure overnight. I turned my attention to the stem. I removed the tooth chatter and marks with the polishing process with the micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a cloth impregnated with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. I touched up the stamping on the side of the saddle stem with acrylic fingernail polish. I let it dry and scraped off the excess. The snowflake (or star?) is quite visible and looks good.This Pipeworks NYC Elliot Nachwalter Hand Made with a vulcanite saddle stem is really an elegant looking pipe. It was a lot of work to bring it back but I think it was worth the effort. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Nachwalter feels as great in the hand as it looks to the eye. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this pipe is 35 grams/1.23 ounces. I will keep the pipe (for a while anyway) and enjoy it with a favourite tobacco. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Five for the Price of One


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a quintet of pipes. Word has been getting around! My barber’s boss approached me recently about restoring his late grandfather’s pipes. Of course, I was only too happy to oblige. The fellow told me that his grandfather did not have fancy pipes, but he just wanted them to look good. Interestingly, he also asked that I not clean the pipes too much – he wanted some of the olfactory memories to remain. When I got my hands on the pipes, I realized what I was up against. These five pipes were really a mess. Quite frankly, if I had these pipes for myself, I would have tossed some on the firewood pile. But my customer wanted these pipes restored as a nice remembrance of his grandfather – and I completely understand and respect that. Since I restored these pipes all together, I thought I would write up their story altogether too – with a tip of my hat to my customer’s late grandfather.

Well, what have we got here? (1) A cherrywood pipe from Missouri Meerschaum, missing its stem; (2) another cherrywood pipe from Missouri Meerschaum; (3) a briar bent pot, marked Château Bruyère 32; (4) a briar egg, marked Savoy 710, missing its stem; and (5) a Brigham Voyageur 126 bent Rhodesian. Missouri Meerschaum is, of course, most famous for being the largest corncob manufacturer in the world – although they do make hardwood pipes too. Herb Wilczak and Tom Colwell’s book, Who Made That Pipe? states that Château Bruyère (as its name suggests) is made in France by an unknown manufacturer. Pipedia tells us that Savoy is a brand of Oppenheimer Pipe/Comoy’s, which was also sold by M. Linkman & Co. Finally, Brigham is the famous Canadian pipe manufacturer. The markings suggest that this Brigham was made after the move of production to Italy.

Problems with these pipes? Wow – where to begin? Both cherrywoods needed new stems. After all, one was cracked beyond repair and the other was missing altogether. They had lava and burns all over, and plenty of cake in the bowl. Besides that, the stummels were just a bit grimy. The Château Bruyère was in really bad condition: tons of lava, cake, and serious burning; cracks galore on the rim; but at least the stem had only minor tooth marks and dents. The Savoy would, of course, also need a new stem, but its stummel was also a disaster: some fills; tons of lava and cake; and (worst of all) an enormous burn gouge on the rim. The Brigham was not too bad (compared with the others), but it still had the usual cake and lava. It also looked like the rim had been used to hammer nails! The stems were first on my list. Fortunately, Steve had a couple of new Missouri Meerschaum stems for me to use on the cherrywood pipes. That was the easiest part of this whole restoration! I also had to sculpt a new stem for the Savoy. Stupidly, I forgot to take photos of this procedure, but, suffice it to say, it was tricky getting the tenon to fit correctly and getting the edges of the new stem to match with the existing stummel. On the two pre-existing stems, I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ them with flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stems with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. They were terribly dirty and I went through a large number of pipe cleaners in order to clean them up. Once this process was done, the stems went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub on cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. On the Brigham, the tenon had come loose from the stem and needed to be repaired. I used my cyanoacrylate adhesive to sort that problem out and let it set. I also built up the small dents on the Brigham and Château Bruyère stems with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded the repairs down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stems. This ensured that they keep their shape and look like they should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stems. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. I should make quick mention of the stem I made for the Savoy. I had a blank and an old, spare stem to potentially use. I ended up using the blank because it fit better. Making a new stem is tricky and messy business, and Steve is far better (and more experienced) than I am at it. Basically, I used some 220-grit sandpaper to remove the excess material from the tenon (to ensure it fit into the stummel’s mortise) and from the tenon-end of the stem (to ensure that this end matches the shape and thickness of the shank). Once the basic shape is achieved, I use progressively finer sandpaper (and then the MicroMesh pads) to make the stem look just as it should. In this end, I was pleased with the results and I wish I had photos to show you of the process!All five stummels were a terrible mess: loaded with cake, filth, and an overall yucky feel. They had obviously been thoroughly smoked and enjoyed. Quite frankly, the grandfather must have smoked them until there was no more draw! Anyway, I first decided to ream out all of the bowls. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove most of the built-up cake – but not all. I didn’t take the cake down to bare briar, as my customer wanted some essence of his grandfather left in the bowls. The one exception to this was the Brigham, and I did ream it completely and brought it down to bare briar. My customer wanted only this pipe to be completely cleaned out. On all five, however, I did clean out the insides of the shanks with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was a lot of nastiness inside the shanks and it took a lot of cotton to get them clean! I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummels with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads and also used a tooth brush to get into the crevasses of the Brigham and the Château Bruyère. I actually soaked the rims in Murphy’s for a while, just to loosen up the lava. I followed that up by cleaning the insides of the Brigham with some dish soap and tube brushes. A de-ghosting session seemed in order for the Brigham. The de-ghosting consisted of thrusting cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturating them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit for 24 hours. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged. There was a great deal of damage to the rims of all the stummels – and that also needed to be addressed. In order to remove the lingering bits of lava, fix any nicks, and tidy up the look, I “topped” the pipes – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rims on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava and the damage, without altering the look of the pipes. However, some needed more attention than others. The two cherrywood pipes were straightforward enough, but a fair amount of work was needed on the other three. The Château Bruyère, as you will have seen, had fairly horrific damage to the wood of the bowl. There were so many cracks and burns that I was not sure if anything meaningful could be done. I did top the bowl, but stopped before I took too much off. There was no getting around the fact that this pipe was not going to be like new. I was comforted by the fact that this pipe was simply being cleaned up and was not going to be smoked again. I sealed off the cracks with cyanoacrylate adhesive, let them cure, and then sanded them smooth. It made a huge difference.But the Château Bruyère still needed a bit more help: re-staining. In order to create some external beauty to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied my own mixture of some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye and some Fiebing’s Black Leather Dye. I then applied flame in order to set the colour. Worked like a charm! The pipe looked so much better after this.The Savoy had a large valley running along the rim of the bowl (not to mention some considerable burning). A combination of techniques was used to sort this out. I topped the stummel to start, but then I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and sanded it thoroughly. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” on sandpaper. I then built up the remaining wound with a mixture of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive. I was quite pleased with the results. Finally, I added a brass ferrule to the end of the shank and glued it in place. It gave the pipe a snazzy look. The Brigham was also tricky, but for a different reason. The Brigham had what I like to call a “broken nose”. The front edge was smashed in and would need to be built up. More than that, the repair would need to be rusticated so as to match the original rustication of the pipe. I am always worried about this sort of work because I dread the possibility of not getting the match right. In this case, I topped the Brigham first, but only slightly – just enough to make it neat and tidy. Then I built up the edge with a mixture of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive. Then, I topped it a second time in order to even out the repair with the rim. Finally, I got out my Dremel and used that to rusticate the pipe’s “nose”. The results were quite good. Now, with the damage repaired on all five pipes, it was time to sand down the stummels. Just like the stems, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth on the three briar pipes (I did not sand the cherrywoods). A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummels’ grain

Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what these pipes needed to shine (literally and figuratively). The polishing was the cherry on top of a long road of recovery for these five pipes. The pipes began in the hands of a man who clearly loved smoking them. His grandson, honouring his grandfather’s memory, wanted them to look good again – but not so new that the essence of his grandfather was lost. It was my job to make sure that his grandfather was still in those pipes. I know that my customer will enjoy looking at those pipes (and remembering) for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of these pipes as much I as I did restoring them. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Rebirthing a Lovely Republic Era Peterson’s Kapet 25 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a smooth Peterson’s pipe, a straight Billiard. It was also incredibly dirty. This Billiard is a real beauty under the grime with some great grain around the bowl. The grime was ground into the finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Kapet. The right side had the shape number 25 stamped near the bowl. Centered on the right side of the shank is stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland (in three lines). There was a moderate cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the inner edge of the rim at the back. There was also burn damage on the inner edge of the rim at the back of the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks, chatter on the top and underside near the button. There is a P stamped on the left side of the taper. It was in great condition. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is moderately caked and the rim top has some lava and you can see the burn damage on the back inner edge. The photos of the stem show that it was oxidized and has light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took a photo of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.      He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above.   I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Kapet line. On page 305 it had the following information.

Kapet (1925-87) Line first described in 1925 brochure and featured in occasional catalogs through ’87. Early specimens will be stamped IRISH over FREE STATE. Described in 1937 catalog as available in dark plum or natural finish. Featured an aluminum “inner tube” or stinger until ’45. Mid-century specimens may be stamped MADE IN over IRELAND. Specimens from 1970 on may have mounts with hallmarks.

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era Kapet. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top photo looks good but there is some burn damage on the inner edge at the back of the bowl and all around the inner edge there is darkening. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and chatter on the surface near the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.     I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great cross grain on the sides of the bowl.I decided to address the rim top damage first. I lightly topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the damage to the top and inner edge of the bowl. I then used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a slight bevel to further minimize the damage to the rim. I think that it is definitely better once I finished. I polished the briar rim top and edges along with the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads –dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and using a damp cloth after each pad.       I combined a Mahogany and a Cherry stain pen to restain the rim top to match the rest of the bowl. It would match even better once it was buffed and polished.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the tooth marks on the underside of the stem with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure. Once they had cured I sanded the repairs on the underside and the chatter on the topside with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil.I touched up the “P” stamp on the stem with an acrylic white fingernail polish. I worked it into the stamp with a toothpick. I let it sit for a few minutes then scraped off the excess. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am always excited to finish a restoration and this Peterson’s Kapet 25 Billiard is no exception. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished black vulcanite stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s Kapet Billiard feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 26 grams/.92 oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Repairing A Burnout On A Loewe “Chubby”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I selected to work on was purchased on eBay way back in 2016 ! When the pipe reached us, I was aghast to see a charred and completely blackened foot of the stummel. There was no mention of the pipe being damaged anywhere in the description of the pipe uploaded by the Seller. To cut the ramble short, I communicated with the Seller about the condition of the pipe and was promptly issued with a complete refund, including the cost of shipping with a note that I could keep the pipe and a hope of continued patronage of his store on eBay. That’s the story of how this beauty came to me and now after all these years of restoring pipes, it finds its way to my work table. Unfortunately, way back then I never took any pictures of the purchased pipes and neither did I chronicle my collection and thus the reason for lack of pictures!

This beautiful smallish pipe has a unique shape that could be described as an oval shank squashed Tomato, if that’s any shape, and hence would loosely term this pipe as a Freehand. It is stamped over the top surface of the broad oval shank as “L & Co” in an oval over “GREAT BRITAIN”. The bottom surface of the shank is stamped “LOEWE” over “LONDON.W” over “CHUBBY”. The top surface of the high quality vulcanite saddle stem is stamped “L & Co” in an oval. This stamping over the stem is considerably worn out and though I would love to but unlikely to be highlighted. The stummel stampings, however, are deep and crisp.I have quite a few Loewe pipes in my collection and have researched this brand when I had worked on a couple from my inherited pipes. I knew that this brand from Haymarket, London was founded by Frenchman Emil Loewe in late 1850s and has the distinction of being first to manufacture Briar pipes. The company was taken over by Civic and later on as with most of the British marquee, was finally taken over by the Cadogan Group. Pipedia has a wealth of information which I went through again to refresh my memory. Here is the pipedia.org link to the article on Loewe pipes…Loewe & Co. – Pipedia

Further down the article, is a link (Dating Loewe Pipes – Pipedia) to date Loewe pipes by Michael Lankton which was of interest as it is very informative and is a highly recommended read for collectors of Loewe pipes.

For our intents the pipe I have is from the Civic Era (1964-1967), where the nomenclature was unchanged but the pipes certainly were, and 1967-1978 where the past goes out the window and decidedly un-Loewe-like 3 digit shapes numbers appear.

Loewe is my favorite pipe maker. How to rank them in terms of the many great London made pipes of their era? For me in the simplest of subjective terms, Loewe pipes from before the Civic Era are like Comoy’s, but even better. After Civic took over in 1964 I suppose the quality of Loewe was very comparable to a lower end GBD, which means they were still ok pipes but not up to previous standards. But those earlier pipes…to me they’re just as good as it gets.

One thing I’ve noticed is most of the old Loewes you see look rode hard and put up wet, which tells me that their owners loved them and smoked them, which is the highest praise any brand can gain.

From my research on it I can safely that the Loewe pipe on my table is from the Early Civic Era 1964 to 1967.

Initial Visual Inspection
I have a faint remembrance of the pipe being in a decent state with minimal cake and a nice shining black stem. The major issue was the charred and blackened foot of the stummel. I remember having knocked at the charred surface to gauge the extent of burnout and was left with the gaping hole at the foot. There is a thin layer of cake in the chamber and the pipe does not appear to have seen heavy usage. The delicately beveled rim is in pristine condition and so is the stem. In my appreciation of the pipe’s condition, I think this burnout occurred very early in to the existence of the pipe probably caused by smoking the pipe too hot. Given below are a few pictures of the pipe as it sits on my work table.Detailed Inspection
As I had mentioned earlier, I had not taken any pictures either of the burnout at the foot of the stummel or my fiddling to remove the charred briar from the damaged area. The chamber has a thin layer of cake and of course the huge gaping hole at the heel is sans any cake. The surface from where the charred wood was removed by me is highly uneven. The outer rim slopes inwards to form the thin rim top surface and has a delicate bevel to the inner rim edge and is in pristine condition. The minor darkening to the inner rim edge at 6 o’clock is superficial and it should clean up easily. Another issue that I have observed is that the draught hole is above the heel of the chamber. I need to figure out a way to build up the heel of the chamber to the level of the draught hole. The only area that would need some serious work is at the heel of the stummel. The area adjoining the burn out still has remnants of the charred wood that would need to be addressed. The rest of the stummel exterior is in pristine condition and would benefit from some TLC to bring it back to its former stunning newness. The mortise is nice and clean and has just a few speckles of carbon and dust. This should clean up easily.The oval broad stem is also nice, clean and surprisingly shiny. There are no bite marks or chatter or indentations in the bite zone. It is unfortunate that the stem logo is wiped out to a great extent. The one issue that needs to be addressed here is the loose seating of the tenon into the shank. The Process
The first step in restoring this particular pipe was the cleaning of the chamber. I used my fabricated knife to scrap off the thin carbon layer. That the cake was crumbly and completely dry made this cleaning a lot easier and faster. With a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper, I took the cake down to the bare briar and also smoothed the chamber walls. A final wipe with a cotton swab moistened with isopropyl alcohol removed the carbon dust from the chamber and revealed a chamber sans any damage. The charred briar from around the burned out area on the foot of the stummel was further removed using my fabricated knife. Now that all the charred briar wood was removed, it was necessary to smooth out the edges of the burnt out area to ensure an even round hole for a snug fitting briar plug. I mounted a sanding drum onto my hand held rotary tool and evened out the edges. I continued the process of sanding till I could clearly make out solid briar peeking out from the edges. Next I marked out the inner diameter of the carved out burnout area over a block of briar using a marker pen. I cut a suitably sized block of briar to be shaped into a plug using a small hacksaw blade.Using a sanding drum mounted on a rotary tool, I rough shaped the plug that would fit into the foot of the stummel. I deliberately left the top of the plug duly flanged (indicated with blue arrows). The general idea was to push the plug from inside the chamber to the outside so that the plug flanges will seat over the remaining intact heel of the chamber forming a new heel and also raising the heel to just below the draught hole. Now that the plug and area to be plugged is all prepped up, I decided to complete the internal and external cleaning of the stummel before plugging the burned out area. I ran a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the mortise and along the shank walls. I scraped out the dried out oils from the shank walls using a sharp dental tool.I followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and a hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and a hard bristled shank brush.Abha simultaneously cleaned the internals of the stem with anti-oil dish soap and brushes. She also cleaned the external surface with the soap and Scotch Brite pad.To fix the briar plug in to the heel of the chamber, I decided to apply a layer of JB Weld to the bottom of the entire heel. J B Weld is a two-part epoxy Cold Weld that consists of two parts; hardener and steel which are mixed in equal parts in a ratio of 1:1 with hardening time of 5-6 minutes and complete curing time of 6-8 hours. I poured the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. With a flat bamboo frond, I applied this mix over the heel of the chamber from inside. I worked fast to ensure a complete and even spread of the epoxy mix over the bottom and then pressed the plug in place. I set the stummel aside for the epoxy to cure overnight.By the following morning, the epoxy had completely hardened. I turned the bowl over and filled the minor gaps between the briar plug and the adjoining stummel surface with medium CA superglue and set it aside while I went for my work. By the time I would return from my office in the evening, the glue would have hardened completely for further work.While the stummel repairs were under progress, Abha polished the stem with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. She wiped it lightly with a moist cloth and polished the stem surface with “Before and After Extra fine” stem polish developed by Mark Hoover. This polish helps in removing the minor scratches left behind due to sanding while imparting a nice shine to the stem. She finished the stem polishing and rubbed a small quantity of EVO into the stem surface and set it aside for the oil to be absorbed.By evening when I continued my work on this pipe, the J B Weld as well as the superglue had cured completely. Using a small hacksaw, I cut the protruding plug as close to the foot of the stummel as possible. I further match the plug with the rest of the stummel foot with a flat head needle file. I perfectly matched the plug with the rest of the surrounding surface by sanding with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The plug is now flush with the foot of the stummel while the flanges of the plug provide additional support to the plug from within the chamber. The floor of the heel is also raised and is just below the draught hole.I had reached that stage in restoration where an important decision was required to be taken which would affect the aesthetics of the pipe. To blend in the repair, I wanted to rusticate only the foot of the stummel and discussed this step with Abha. She was of the opinion that a perfect geometrical pattern does not go with the flow of the shape and recommended a free flowing rustication pattern. I sought her help in designing the free flowing pattern and marked it over the foot of the stummel with a marker. The design she marked makes for an interesting look.To rusticate, I firmly held the stummel in my left hand and with my right hand and began gouging out the briar. The technique is to firmly press the pointed four prongs of the modified Philips screwdriver into the surface, rotate and gouge out the removed chunk of briar. I worked diligently till I was satisfied with the rustications and the appearance of the stummel. I cleaned the debris off the rusticated surface with a brass wired brush. The high points in the rustications were lightly sanded down using a piece of 220 grit sandpaper.Next I polished the stummel using micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I also polished the high spots in the rustication with the micromesh pads. I wiped the bowl with a moist cloth after each pad to clean the surface. The rusticated part of the stummel is now ready for a fresh coat of stain. I decided to stain the rusticated surface with a black dye which would contrast beautifully with the browns of the rest of the smooth surface. I heated the rusticated portion with my heat gun to open up the pores on the stummel so that the stain is well absorbed. I used Fiebing’s aniline black leather dye and liberally applied it over the heated surface, flaming it with the flame of a lighter. This helps in the setting of the stain in the grain of the briar. I ensured that every inch of the rusticated surface was coated with the dye while the smooth surfaces are not stained. I set the stummel aside for a day to set the dye into the briar surface. 24 hours later, the stain had set completely. To highlight the contrast of the high points in the rustication, I lightly sanded the high points with a worn out piece of 180 grit sandpaper followed by polishing by the method of dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads.Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the briar with my fingertips, worked it deep into the sandblasts as well as the smooth surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance over the smooth surface with the beautiful rusticated patterns on full display on the foot of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush. The next issue that I addressed was that of the loose seating of the stem into the mortise. With the flame of a lighter, I heated the tenon with the flame of a lighter till it was pliable and inserted a drill bit that was a bit larger in diameter than the tenon opening. This helps in expanding the pliable vulcanite for a snug fit. I held the tenon under cold tap water for the tenon to cool down and set the increased diameter. The seating was perfectly snug with just the right amount of resistance.The last functional aspect which I addressed at this stage was the protection of the repairs to the heel of the chamber. I mixed activated charcoal and yogurt to a consistency which allows for an easy and even spread and evenly applied it on the inner walls and heel of the chamber. This coating helps in preventing the epoxy at the heel of the chamber from coming into direct contact with the burning tobacco, a sort of insulation and assists in quicker formation of a cake. I set it aside to dry out naturally for a week. To complete the restoration, I first mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel that is dedicated for use with Blue Diamond, onto my hand held rotary tool.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and polished the entire pipe after the stem and stummel were united. The Blue Diamond compound helps to erase the minor scratches that are left behind even after micromesh polishing cycle. I followed the Blue Diamond polish by applying several coats of Carnauba Wax with a cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to Carnauba Wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and has been transformed from being a write off to being one in my rotation! The Pipe Gods are being very kind to me now-a-days and pray that they continue to be so. Following are the pictures of the restored pipe.