Tag Archives: contrast staining

A British Connection for an Italian Made Trident Walnut 910 Cup and Saucer


Blog by Steve Laug

I am enjoying an evening free to work on a few pipes. The next pipe on the table came from an antique mall on 03/05/21 in Logan, Utah, USA. It is a uniquely shaped Italian made pipe that reminds me of a Lorenzo made pipe. The shape and style are much the same as those pipes. This large pipe has a smooth finish on an Italian take on a classic cup and saucer shape. On the underside of the shank it was stamped Trident [over] Styled in Italy [over] Walnut. That is followed by the shape number 910. The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl was lightly caked and there was some darkening and light lava on the top and edges of the rim. The shank was triangular and the tapered stem followed that shape. There was no stamping or logo on the stem surface. The stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of and on the surface of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the bowl and rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is an interesting grain patterns under the grime and thick debris.    Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. It clearly reads as noted above. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to get a quick summary of the background of the Trident pipe. (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t8.html). This is fascinating to me as the pipe I have is stamped with the same Trident stamp but is also stamped Styled in Italy. It also had the same matte finish. I vaguely remember a connection between Comoy’s and Lorenzo pipes in Italy. This pipe really has the look of a Lorenzo. Now to dig a bit more deeply.

I turned to Pipedia to see what else I could learn about the brand and found a brief but fascinating article on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Lorenzo). I quote a part of the article that gives the link to Comoy’s that I had remembered.

In 1983 Lorenzo Tagliabue came to bitter grief: his little daughter, the only child, died of cancer. He lost all interest in the business and retired still in 1983, leaving no heirs who wished to continue the business. Lorenzo Pipes was licensed for and continued for a shorter period by Comoy’s of London (Cadogan / Oppenheimer Group). Then Lorenzo Pipes almost disappeared and Lorenzo Tagliabue passed away in 1987.

But this wasn’t the end. In 1988 Riccardo Aliverti and his wife Gabriella purchased all rights to the Lorenzo trademark from the Tagliabue family and production of the renown Lorenzo Pipes resumed.

The Aliverti family is involved in pipemaking since Romolo Aliverti, the father of the current owners, joined the Lana Brothers in 1920. He later reached the rank of technical director. No wonder that his son Riccardo showed an interest in pipe making. Riccardo began learning the pipemaking trade in 1954 at the age of fourteen under his father’s watchful eyes and succeeded him as technical director upon his father’s retirement in 1973.

Today the third generation of the Aliverti family is working for the company. Massimo Aliverti, Riccardo’s son, has been with the company as sales director since 1991. He works closely with his father and knows all phases of production. Massimo has established a broad customer base for Lorenzo around the world.

I knew that I was working on a Lorenzo made pipe from the period of time (1983) when Comoy’s (Cadogan) managed the brand for them. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the debris on the rim top and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove remaining oxidation on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. Other than the burned area on the rim top and edge it really looked good and the bowl itself was in excellent condition. The rim top and the inner edge look very good. There is a large solid fill on the right side of the rim top near the back of the bowl. The stem had a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was clear and read as noted.   I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. I decided to start my work on this pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to remove the scratching and polishing the fills on the bowl sides and rim top.I stained the briar with a light brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until the coverage was acceptable.I wiped off the excess stain with alcohol on a cotton pad to even out the colour. When it was the way I wanted 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 and a horsehair shoe brush to get into the nooks and crannies of the rustication. The product works 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.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides with clear CA glue. Once the repair cured I reshaped the button and flattened the surface of the stem with a small file. I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and 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 it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Trident Walnut 910 Italian Design Tea Cup with a taper vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the 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 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 Trident Walnut Tea Cup fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 75grams/2.65oz. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Italian Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

A Fascinating Piece of Italian Pipe History – A Molina 80993 Bent Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

I am enjoying an evening free to work on a few pipes. The next pipe on the table came from an antique auction gallery on 05/22/20 in Mebane, North Carolina, USA. It is a uniquely rusticated Italian made pipe with a smooth rim top and shank end that is capped with a brass ferrule. On the left side of the shank it was stamped Molina [over] the shape number 80993. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Italy. It is a brand I have heard of but know little about so I am glad to learn about it. The pipe is a bent apple that is nicely shape. The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl was thickly caked and there was an overflow of lava on the top and edges of the rim. The front inner edge and rim top appeared to have burn damage that looked like it had been lit repeatedly with a torch lighter. The stem was a fancy Lucite taper stem that fit snugly in the shank and had brass band that was made to look like three rings. There also appeared to be the remnants of a faint stamp on the left side of the stem. The stem was dirty, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava and dust ground into the finish of the rim top and edges. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. You can also see the damage on the inner edge of the bowl on the front. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, chatter and tooth marks.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is an interesting rustication under the grime and thick debris. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. It clearly reads as noted above.I turned first to Pipephil’s site to get a quick summary of the background of the Molina pipe. (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m6.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section on the site.In the sidebar it included the following information that I have included below.

Artisan: Giovanni Carollo, a former employee of the Rossi factory. Machine crafted mass production. Pipes mainly aimed for German and US market.

I turned to Pipedia to see what else I could learn about the brand and found a brief but fascinating article on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Molina_Pipe). I quote it in its entirety below.

Molina pipes has it’s origins in Barasso in Lombardy. It was born from what was left of the old Rossi pipes factory, that started in the early 1900s. Molina’s inheritance from Rossi pipes does not only consist of the factory but also the machinery and methods of production. The name Molina refers to a district where you could find mills powered by water.

I followed the trail there to the Molina Pipe website (https://www.molinapipe.it/). It had a great summary of the history.

Molina still lies in part on the antique Rossi factory, a peculiar but not a casual circumstance. it represents an excellent example of industrial archeology. its working environment is enriched with the modernized charm of the past.

Molina’s inheritance from Rossi pipes does not only consist of the factory but also of ancient machinery and methods of production, antique ”secrets” ,antique recipes and production procedures used over 100 years ago.

The name molina has even a longer history, it is up to today used to refer to a district where you could find mills powered by a rush of water.

I knew that I was working on a Molina pipe from the remnants of the old Rossi pipe factory and that the pipes were made mainly for the US and German market. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the debris on the rim top and was able to remove it. The burned area was very clear once he had cleaned it off. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove remaining oxidation on the ferrule and the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. Other than the burned area on the rim top and edge it really looked good and the bowl itself was in excellent condition. The rim top and the inner edge had serious burn damage all around but the heaviest damage was on the front of the bowl. It really looked to be the victim of repeated assault by a torch lighter. If you have one keep it away from your pipe. The stem had a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It was clear and read as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The tenon is Delrin. I decided to start my work on this pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. I topped the bowl on a board with 180 grit sandpaper. I chose a lower grit sandpaper because the damage was quite deep. Once I had topped the damaged areas and found solid briar I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to reshape and rework the inner edge of the rim. It took a bit of work but the rim top looked much better. I polished the rim top and edge with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to remove the scratching and polish the smooth briar.    I restained the rim top and edges with a Walnut stain pen to match the other smooth portions of the bowl and shank.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 and a horsehair shoe brush to get into the nooks and crannies of the rustication. The product works 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.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides with clear CA glue. Once the repair cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and 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 it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This beautiful Rusticated Molina 80993 Bent Apple with a taper acrylic stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the 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 multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 Molina Bent Apple fits nicely in the hand and the tactile finish feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 57grams/2.01oz. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Italian Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

What a Mess! A Peterson’s Product Shamrock 15 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was an absolute mess and one that obviously had been “ridden hard and put away wet”. There was little room in the bowl for tobacco and the finish and condition was abysmal. I am pretty sure it came from a classic old time pipeman who smoked a pipe until it was no longer usable and then pitched it for a new on. It was definitely a stranger to any cleaning! This one is a smooth Billiard that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us on 07/24/18 from a sale in Lickingville, Pennsylvania, USA. The finish is almost bland looking it is so dirty it was hard to know what to expect once it was cleaned. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank and reads “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN THE REP. [over] OF IRELAND (3 lines) with the shape number 15 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a very thick cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The cake was thick and overflowing so much it was hard to know what the edge looked like. The stem was stamped with the letter S on the left side. It was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is so heavily caked it is impossible to know the condition of the edges under the lava overflow. There was still dottle in the bowl from the last smoke of the pipe. The stem is oxidized and grimy. It has some tooth marks on the top and underside near and on the surface of the button itself. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. You can see the sandpits and nicks in the briar in the photos below. Even so, it is a nice looking pipe.He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).
I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND (c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads “A Peterson’s Product” over Made in Ireland which narrows the date to between approximately 1948-1998. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name as an inexpensive a fish tail stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I was utterly surprised when I took this pipe out of the box and compared it to the before photos. 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. Surprisingly the walls looked unscathed from the heavy cake. 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 of the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. The cleaned up rim top revealed a very damaged inner edge and top. It was both burned and nicked from what appeared to be a quick ream somewhere in its life with a knife. I took some close up photos of the rim top to show how well it had cleaned up and the damage to the inner edges around the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near and on the button itself. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I started my work on this pipe by topping the bowl and reworking the damage to the inner edge. I topped the bowl on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. Once I had it smooth I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to accommodate the burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.I interrupted the polishing with the micromesh pads after the 2400 grit pad. I stained the rim top with a Maple, Cherry and Walnut stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar. Then I continued on my polishing of the briar with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. 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 “painted” the stem surface with flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks in the surface. It worked well. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with clear CA glue and set the stem aside to cure. Once it had cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.From the description I read and quoted above I knew that the stem stamp could well have been gold. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to fill in the stamp. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth.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 excited to finish this Older “A Peterson’s Product” Shamrock 15 Straight Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful mixed grain all around it. Added to that the black vulcanite fish tail stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock 15 Billiard is great looking and the pipe 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 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34grams/1.20oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one will end up on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe makers section. Check there if you want to add it to your collection. Let me know via email or message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Beauty or the Beast?


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

This is the story of a pipe – possibly damaged beyond reasonable limits – which I really liked and decided (against my better judgement) to revivify. I need to make clear from the outset that this is not a pipe like many you see from Steve, Dal, Paresh, Charles, et al, which begin their restoration as the proverbial sow’s ear and naturally end up as the silk purse. No, this is a pipe that came to me as a damaged ‘beast’ and ended up much improved – but a ‘beast’ it remains. There is damage to the pipe which is, despite my best efforts, a permanent attribute. I leave it to your collective judgement on whether it will ever attain the rank of ‘beauty’.

This pipe came from a lot from Sudbury, Ontario. There were literally no marks of any kind on the stummel, stem, or ferrule. In the absence of a name, Steve and I dubbed it ‘The Sudbury’ and that is the name that stuck. Steve thinks that the Sudbury could be of Italian origin, and I have no reason to question that assessment. So let us pretend that it is an Italian ‘scoop’ pipe that arrived from Northern Ontario. If you have any insight into the pipe’s origin, I would love to hear from you. The photos do not quite convey just how bad this pipe looked when it arrived. The stummel was filthy, scratched, dented, cracked, and burned. The bowl was out-of-round, had lots of lava, cake and burns. The stem was oxidized, calcified, and badly pitted (more about the pitting later). The ferrule was dirty, torn, dented, and cheap-looking – it had obviously been put there to address the cracks in the shank. Where to even begin with this mess?

Well, the start came with removing the sorry-looking ferrule, which, quite frankly, inspired more pathos than confidence. This allowed me to have a good look at the cracks (plural) in the shank. As you can plainly see, the cracks were a mess. I removed what I could of lose debris and glue from these fissures, with the intention of refilling them later.Next was reaming out the bowl. This pipe has quite a wide and curved bowl and it required both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem. 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. This is a pipe that really could have used the services of a retort system, but – alas – I do not have one. If anyone has a spare, please let me know. The fellow on eBay who sells them is out of commission for a while. A quick wipe of the outside revealed that there is really some beautiful wood grain in this pipe.A de-ghosting session seemed in order to rid this pipe of the foul smells of the past. This de-ghosting consisted of thrusting cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturating them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged.While all of that was going on, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Then the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. I knew the stem was going to require a lot of work, but even I did not know what I was getting myself into. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing goop (technical term) off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove.Back to the stummel – and this required addressing two key issues: the badly out-of-round bowl opening and the cracks in the shank that needed to be re-mended. In order to address the out-of-round issue, I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and sanded thoroughly – until such time as the bowl was returned to round. This process was not difficult, but it was time consuming. I had to ensure that I was sanding down the correct parts that needed it and that I was not removing too much. In the end, I think I got the balance just right.Meanwhile, I had to figure out what could be done with the very noticeable cracks in the shank. The previous ferrule had done a passable job of hiding them, but that ferrule was a non-starter. It was ugly and trashed. Anyway, an application of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive seemed to be the way to go in addressing the cracks. I also had to concede that, no matter what, the cracks were always going to be a visible part of this pipe from now on. There was just no way around it. I sanded down the repairs and left them for a bit later.There was a small burn on the underside of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed. The burn did improve but never fully disappeared. I took solace from the fact that the burn was very superficial and did not affect the integrity of the wood at all.After this, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain.Steve was kind enough to find me a new ferrule that we could bend to correctly fit the oval shank. This was not as easy as it sounds because the shank’s width tapered away from the end. I used a combination of heat, glue and elbow grease to fit it. I then used metal sandpaper to even out the edge. A quick polish with my cloth made it look pretty good.Now on too the stem. Oh boy – this was a struggle. All the usual things were fine. As I mentioned, the deoxidizing went well; the cleaning of the internals went well; the sanding of the stem with the Micromesh pads went well; the buffing and polishing went well; BUT the pitting was very difficult. In the first place, the pits were all filled with filth and/or oxidation and/or debris from the many years of neglect. In order to dislodge this, I soaked the pitted part of the stem overnight in a lemon-infused, isopropyl alcohol solution. This worked surprisingly well. The debris either dissolved or was easy to scrub out.Now, how to fill these properly so as to create a smooth and (hopefully) invisible repair? Steve assured me that he had successfully filled pits in the past with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Perfect – I set about carefully smearing the adhesive all over the pitting. I left it to set and came back later to sand it down. So far, so good, but some of the pits did not fill (no idea how that happened) and others just looked terrible after sanding. I obviously did something wrong. Steve suggested that we used some black cyanoacrylate adhesive. He very kindly did his own smearing of the black adhesive on my stem. We let it set, did all the right things, and it still looked lousy. I even tried using a black Sharpie to see if that would help – it didn’t. Suffice it to say that I went through this process a total of FOUR times before I had to admit defeat. I will say that the stem looks so much better than when I started, but those pits were *ahem* the pits.I applied more Before & After Restoration Balm, then some wax. I polished it by hand with a microfibre cloth and I was pleased with the results! This pipe was clearly a great beauty on the day it was made. Over the years, abuse, neglect, and the ravages of time turned this charming pipe into a beast. I worked harder on this pipe than I have on any other, but I am proud of it and I am adding it to my collection. I look forward to smoking it for many years to come.

The dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 164 mm; height 42 mm; bowl diameter 149 × 44 mm; chamber diameter 23 mm. The mass of the pipe is 46 grams. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Breathing New Life into a German VAUEN 6294 P-Lip Saddle Billiard for a Special Young Lady


Blog by Dal Stanton

Darren has commissioned a number pipes from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  I am grateful for this!  The first pipe restored for Darren came out beautifully (See: An Amazing Transformation of a Bruyere Extra Paneled Billiard).  Of all the pipes that Darren has commissioned, the one on the worktable now was the most difficult to choose.  I know this for certain because it took Darren several weeks finally to hear the whisper of a specific pipe for his youngest daughter, Lina.

God made fathers, I believe, with a special place in their hearts for daughters.  This coupled with the fact that Lina’s 18th birthday was on the horizon and in addition to this was Darren’s desire to continue a guarded family tradition where Dad gifts a pipe to each of his children at their 18th birthday.  A gifted pipe contributes to part of a rite of passage into adulthood.  Of course, when Darren shared this information with me in one communication, my response was to ask more questions about the tradition and about Lina – her personality, aspirations, etc., so that the pipe and its write up would in some small way reflect what was important to Darren and celebrate Lina’s life and her 18th birthday.

Darren’s response about his youngest daughter’s pipe was tentative.  He wrote:  As for my daughter’s pipe, I’m uncertain. For her siblings, I found appropriate p-lip Peterson pipes, making it easier for them to try different tobaccos alongside dad, and then discussing flavors. Unlike my other two, Madeleine (but she prefers Lina) said she has no interest in smoking the pipe (she knows) she’ll receive. Her birthday is August 1, but the timing is less important than the day it is given.  

Darren went on to write that Lina was unique, not only because she is the extrovert of the family, but that she has also grown to be a stronger person because of a hair loss condition she was diagnosed with at age four, alopecia totalis.  Later he sent a short essay Lina had written for a college application where she described the challenges she encountered with this condition and how she responded.  I repeat some excerpts of what Lina wrote – an amazing story:

Everyone experiences obstacles in their life.  We may not have control over when or what these hurdles will be, but we do get to choose how we respond to them. Alopecia Universalis became part of my story when I was four years old, and my mom noticed a patch of hair missing on the top of my head. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that puts my immune system in hyper-drive and causes it “fight” against my hair, thinking it is unhealthy, like a virus or bacteria that it needs to attack. Imagine waking up and seeing gobs of hair on your pillow in the morning. Take that further and think of how scared you’d be to see clumps of hair falling off your head while you applied shampoo in the shower. I was young, and I did not understand what was happening to me. I had no idea how my friends would react to it, and I hated it when people stared at me, thought I was a boy, or assumed I was losing my hair because of cancer….

My parents worked hard to help me figure out how I wanted to handle my hair loss, what made me most comfortable; I tried wigs, hats, and bandanas, but nothing seemed to be the right fit for me. As an active young child, and eventually a student-athlete, wigs were way too hot and impractical. I would often just rip them off whenever I began to overheat, causing people who did not know I had Alopecia to startle a bit. Eventually, I realized that I did not want to wear anything extra and that none of those things made me feel more normal….

God gave me this disease because He knew I could handle it. He has given me the strength to know and believe that He made me in His image, and I am perfect in His eyes. It is not always easy, but I am bald; I have accepted it, and I have chosen to rock it! Even though it seemed impossible at the beginning, I can now be someone people look up to because I am strong and happy. I want to be an inspiration to others. At first, it was so weird, but now it is normal to me, just another character trait.  It has been so long since I had hair that for my family and friends, it [Strength? No hair? What?] is just … me. 

Through this disease, I have learned that I do not have to allow an obstacle to stop me, I can overcome them, and I can turn them into something useful. I will not let Alopecia stop me from doing anything. I have learned to think of it as something that makes me unique rather than an inconvenience. I like being different. I think it is pretty cool that I walk around bald every day; nothing can stop me.

With my request to include Lina’s story in this write up, Darren sent Lina’s photo.  The photo beautifully portrays the bold extroversion Darren described about his unique daughter, but more foundational were Lina’s words revealing the unyielding trust in God that buttressed that boldness – a special young lady.

My response to Darren was to propose one of the pipes that he had already commissioned as possibly matching Lina’s personality. Here is some of what I said:

…Your daughter is gold too 😊.  To have grown up with the hair condition and to overcome it with what appears, great style and grace, is in itself a beautiful thing….  Her apparent extroverted ‘in your face’ spunk and attitude, to me fits well with the reputation of Lorenzo.  Lorenzo, among not only Italian pipes, has the reputation of being on the ‘edge’ in design… There is no doubt, the Lorenzo walks with a bit of swagger…. I look forward to hearing from you.

Since I wanted to work on Lina’s pipe next, I was hopeful of a quick response from Darren regarding his thoughts about the Lorenzo.  Finally, some days later, after he again searched the ‘Dreamers’ collection 😊, another pipe finally whispered Lina’s name to dad.  Darren wrote that the German made VAUEN would be a good fit because, like the Petersons he had given to his other 2 children, the VAUEN sported a P-lip stem.

I found the VAUEN in August of 2017 when my wife and I were enjoying holiday on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the city of Burgas.  I found it at a favorite second-hand/antique store on the main walking street.  The VAUEN is pictured with an Altinay Meerschaum Teardrop Lattice which has already found a new home with a happy steward.

Here are a few pictures of Lina’s VAUEN that dad commissioned for her 18th birthday:The nomenclature is clear and crisp.  Stamped on the left flank of the shank is ‘VAUEN’.  Stamped on the underside of the shank is 6294, the shape number VAUEN has assigned to this hefty Billiard.This is my first opportunity working on a pipe marked with VAUEN. Pipedia’s article about VAUEN included a link that went directly to VAUEN’s English language website from which Pipedia’s information seems to have come in part. I was interested to see that VAUEN is a long-time name in pipe production based in Nuremberg, Germany. My first impression of the website revealing German quality and precision was, ‘Wow!’ The current pipes displayed are sharp and modern – an attractive blending of modernistic and classical tradition. I clipped these pipes as a sampling of pipes currently available and reflecting the style of today’s VAUEN. Looking through the site I did not find anything like Lina’s VAUEN, and I saw no P-lips. This clues me in that models with P-lip stems are perhaps a thing of the VAUEN past – but how far back did P-lips cease to be part of the VAUEN presentation? I found no answer for this.One other observation looking at VAUEN’s offerings – they have produced and have available an exceptional line of pipes called, AUENLAND. Google Translate helped me to crack the translation which brought on a smile, ‘Shire’. The Shire line is described with bowls made of briar, stems of beechwood and with an acrylic mouthpiece. Here are a few ‘Shire’ pipes which one would find hobbits, wizards, dwarfs, and kings in waiting, smoking across Middle Earth.Amazingly, Pipephil.eu (See: The Lord of the Rings) devotes an entire stand-alone article describing how VAUEN has perfected the ‘selling of a dream’ as a market strategy. Producing the ‘Shire’ line of pipes with each pipe named after a character, allows a would-be purchaser to identify with a favorite character and acquire THAT pipe. Who would not want Aragorn’s pipe? 😊 And of course, these ‘Lord of the Ring’ pipes, numbering about 16 different styles with characters attached as names, come in a packaging which helps convince one of the reasonableness of the purchase – I am moving in that direction! Resisting the urge to covet more, I turn to the question of the history of the VAUEN name? I look to the History section of the VAUEN website and again, I am impressed with the presentation. Whenever I work on a pipe, and especially when a pipe name is new to me, I enjoy looking at its history to appreciate the pipe more fully now on my worktable. From VAUEN’s website:

Quality and a wealth of ideas have a long tradition at VAUEN. 160 years of VAUEN: that means 160 years of skilled workmanship and modern technology and 160 years of experience in fulfilling the individual wishes of today’s pipe lovers, and those of tomorrow.

In Nuremberg in 1848, Karl Ellenberger and his partner Carl August Ziener turned an idea into reality: Germany’s first pipe manufacturer produced tobacco pipes for connoisseurs around the world using a selection of the best wood. In an amalgamation with the Gebhard Ott pipe factory, which was founded in 1866 in Nuremberg, the Vereinigten Pfeifenfabriken Nuremberg (United Pipe Factories Nuremberg, or VPFN) was born in 1901.  Under the management of Ernst Eckert, a descendent of the founding Ott family, a company was born whose products and services would shape the tobacco and smoking culture in Europe and overseas for the next 160 years and counting.

The question about the name, VAUEN, not being a name of a person and why it is capitalized throughout is explained:

In his search for a name that would be easily remembered by all pipe lovers, Ernst Eckert’s son, Adolf Eckert, coined a new name for the company in 1909: VAUEN – a composition of the first letters V (pronounced vow) of Vereinigte Pfeifenfabriken and N (pronounced en) of Nuremberg. A brand for the future was born.

Another interesting piece of information regarding the development of VAUEN pipes is the dot on the stem marking its pipes:

In 1911, Adolf Eckert began to mark pipes with extraordinary quality with a white dot on the mouthpiece. Today, the “white dot” is an internationally renowned trademark that guarantees carefully selected materials, attractive grains, and elaborate workmanship. VAUEN pipes made for export are marked with a grey dot.

What the VAUEN website does not reveal but is revealed in the Pipedia article is the legal entanglement with Dunhill VAUEN’s marking of the stem produced:

In the 1920s, VAUEN had taken out a trademark on a white dot on the mouthpiece for Germany and Austria, at the same time that Dunhill had done the same for the international market. The companies ended up in court with the result that Dunhill may use the white dot internationally, whereas VAUEN may use it only in Germany and Austria and has to use a differently-coloured dot for all other markets. They have used light blue and grey dots internationally since then. The white or coloured dot denotes the higher quality pipes of VAUEN; the lower-end pipes are only marked by the VAUEN imprint on the stem.

This information about the different dot colors used by VAUEN is of interest because in my initial inspection of the VAUEN on the worktable, I did not know about the dot nor did I see a dot.  The pictures taken do not show a dot and since the stem is now soaking in the oxidation remover since I started the process of the restoration before the writing and research, this is something I will be looking for when the stem is finished soaking!  From the picture, there is certainly no white dot – perhaps a more subdued blue or grey is dot hiding?  Nor do I see ‘VAUEN’ imprinted on the stem denoting a ‘lower end’ pipe.The history on the VAUEN website concludes describing the current leadership structure safeguarding the legacy of the 170-year-old family run business – quite an achievement:

Also in 2018 Julia Eckert, the youngest daughter from Alexander Eckert, joins the business and therefore represents the 6th generation of the family. She takes over the Strategic Marketing department and is from now on responsible for the establishment and extension for all the marketing activities (on- and offline). In 2020 Alexander Eckert hands over the entire management to his successor Martin Ramsauer and retires from the active management after 38 years. He will remain loyal as a partner of the family business and ‘sparring partner’ in general. In this way, it is ensured that pipe history will continue to be written successfully at VAUEN and our passion for enjoyment will be shared with pipe lovers all over the world.

One additional observation about the VAUEN website that was remarkably interesting were video links showing much of the current manufacturing processes of a modern-day pipe factory. Even though they are in German, the videos are fascinating and worth the watch – Pipe manufactory (VAUEN.com).

The question regarding the VAUEN P-lip stem seems at this point to be a possible aging marker for Lina’s VAUEN.  I did not look at every listing on the VAUEN website, but I did not see any pipes listed with a P-lip stem.  Pipephil.eu has a listing for VAUEN pipes and some examples of pipes.  There is also a link describing the VAUEN P-lip with other pipe maker P-lip styles (See: Peterson’s P-Lip and its variants).  The VAUEN pictured is part of the Dr. Perl line which bears no resemblance to Lina’s pipe.

I have found nothing in the research giving a specific identification of the line or dating of the VAUEN on the worktable.  Even so, it indeed resembles the VAUEN ‘style’ with the sharp acrylic stem/shank divider or ring.  The condition of the pipe looks generally to be solid.  The chamber has moderately thick cake and the lava overflow crusting the rim needs attention.  The bowl is grimy dulling and obscuring the grain beneath.  The P-lip saddle stem has deep oxidation and calcification on the bit.  With a greater appreciation for this German made VAUEN Billiard, the restoration begins with the stem.

As I mentioned earlier, the work on the stem started earlier.  Before putting it into a soak to address the oxidation, many pipe cleaners and cotton buds were used to first clean the airway and the filter cavity.  I believe all VAUEN pipes are designed to be fitted with a filter of which VAUEN is also a producer.  The 9mm filter compartment is a prime collector of crud and a small dental spoon was also employed to excavate.  It takes fierce battling finally to call the airway and filter cavity clean. Next, the stem was put into a soak of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. I left the stem in the soak for a full 24 hours to leverage as much effort to the oxidation removal as possible. I am curious to see if a dot will surface which will be able to indicate the market area this VAUEN was headed toward when new.The stem has been soaking for 24 hours and when I fish it out the raised oxidation is pronounced. I first use a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to wipe off the raised oxidation.  After the cotton pad, I also apply 0000 grade steel wool to see if I can remove more oxidation.  The results seem good regarding the removal of a goodly portion of the oxidation.  Another mystery emerges – thoroughly inspecting the top of the saddle looking for a grey or blue dot comes up empty.  Perhaps there are exceptions to the VAUEN pipes receiving the dot?  I see no other markings on the stem.To condition the vulcanite stem, paraffin oil is then applied to the stem.The process also reveals that the stem ring or extender is not acrylic as I earlier thought. It is most definitely a wooden ring of some sort. It darkened through the process but as it dries and later sanded, it should spruce up nicely giving a nice contrasting transition from stummel to stem.Putting the stem aside for the time, I look more closely at the VAUEN stummel.  The stummel is huge with a chamber width of 1 inch and depth of 1 7/8 inches.  First, a fresh picture is taken to show the starting point.To clear the carbon cake in the chamber, all 4 of the Pipnet Reaming Tool blade heads are used.  The Kleen Reem Pipe Tool was also used to help break up the cake.  Following this, the Savinelli Fitsall Tool continues by scraping the chamber walls and then to finish, the chamber is sanded with 240 sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen. An inspection of the chamber walls shows small heating veins but no problems with significance.Next, a few pictures show the crusting lava flow on the rim and the grime spots on the briar surface.To start the external surface cleaning, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used with a cotton pad to scrub.  The rim is a bear, and the brass wire brush is used along with the pocketknife to carefully scrape the carbon.  The stummel is then transferred to the sink to continue the cleaning.  Using shank brushes with hot water, anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap is used to scrub the internal mortise.  Once the stummel is rinsed thoroughly, it comes back to the table.Next, to continue the cleaning of the internals, cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% are used to scrub.  The effort includes a small dental spoon digging and scraping into the mortise walls.  After a good amount of time, and with the hour getting close to quitting time, I decide to transition.To continue the cleaning through the night a kosher salt and alcohol soak will be used. This method helps to draw out the tars and oils from the internal briar. First, a cotton ball is pulled and stretched to act as a ‘wick’ to draw out the oils and tars. With the aid of a stiff wire, the wick is guided down the mortise into the airway.The bowl is then filled with kosher salt which leaves no aftertaste and set in an egg carton for stability and to angle the stummel so that the rim and mortise opening are roughly level.  Isopropyl 99% then fills the bowl with a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the salt. After a few minutes, the alcohol is topped off and the lights go off.The next morning, the soiled salt and cotton wick indicate the cleaning processes going on through the night.  After tossing the salt into the waste, the chamber is wiped with a paper towel and blowing through the mortise helps to clear any residual salt crystals. To continue the internal cleaning, I return to cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% for the last push which lasts much longer than hoped.  With many buds and pipe cleaners expended on the second day of cleaning the internals, I use the small dental spoon again to scrape the walls.  Drill bits are also used to excavate crud.  With a bit the same size of the airway, after mounting it on a power drill, it is hand turned (NOT powered up!) to move the drill down the airway. When the metal bit surfaces through the draft hole, I continue to hand turn the drill the same way and back it out of the airway.The dark area on the end of the drill shows the crud pulled out.  I repeat this process a few times and I use a larger bit as well that only excavated at the back of the mortise where the airway begins.  I discover that the VAUEN drilling for the filter included a ridge at the start of the internal airway that was tapered wider than the deeper airway so it wasn’t being addressed by the narrower drill bit.Well, the buds and cleaners finally began to emerge lighter. I call it done and move on.With the formal cleaning completed, I turn my attention to addressing the issues. The rim is in rough shape from the heavy lava flow and indications of charring. The darkened area on the shank side of the rim shows the place where the former steward drew the flame over the rim in lighting. The inner edge of the rim also reveals the round of the chamber being a bit compromised. A few pictures of the bowl and shank edge show a few small dark spots which I believe are old fill patches.  They seem solid but are raised – detectable by the touch.To address these issues I begin at the top of the stummel and work downward. I begin by topping the stummel to clean the rim. I place 240 sanding paper on the chopping board to serve as my desktop topping board. I take a starting picture to mark the beginning.With the stummel inverted, the stummel is rotated over the paper several times. Care is given to keep the stummel level and not to tilt it in any one direction.The following pictures show the progression after several rotations and then stopping to check the progress. I do not want to take off more briar than is necessary, but enough of the damaged rim needs to be removed to address the burn damage.At this point I stop the process on the 240 paper. I believe enough briar has been removed. The remaining darkened and damaged briar on the inner rim edge should be removed with introducing a bevel on the inner rim edge.Several quick rotations are applied on 600 grade paper to smooth the rim further.Next, using a hard surface as a backing against the sandpaper, a bevel is cut using 240 then 600 grade papers. The Sharpie Pen wrapped with 240 grade paper is also used to help sand and shape the inner chamber wall to fashion the chamber restoring the round.There continues an imbalance in the width of the rim going around the circumference, but there is nothing I can do about that. It looks much improved now.Now, moving downwardly, the raised fill spots are sanded with 240 paper and inspected. They still look solid.To protect the VAUEN nomenclature and shape number during sanding, painter’s tape works well.Next, I rejoin the stem with the stummel. I do this to protect the wooden stem connector ring from shouldering now that I know that it is wood. With the stem and stummel joined, the sanding moves over the junctions without shouldering.  Using 240 paper the saddle of the stem is sanded.The sanding is then expanded to the entire P-lip stem using 240 sanding paper. With the stem and stummel remaining joined, sanding sponges are applied to the stummel to clean it and remove imperfections in the briar.  Four sponges are used starting with the coarsest and moving to the fine grades.Next, continuing with the stummel alone, the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads is applied to the stummel.  The fine sanding starts by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  This is followed with pads 3200 to 4000 and pads 6000 to 12000.  The painter’s tape is removed after the first set of 3. I am pleased with how the grain has emerged through the micromesh sanding. To mask the dark fills and the darker areas around the stampings, and to bring out the grain with more contrast, I apply dye to the stummel. I decide to apply Fiebing’s Tan Leather Dye leveraging more toward subtle contrasting in the grain. After assembling the components necessary on the work desk, the stummel is warmed with a hot air gun to expand the briar. This helps the grain to be more receptive to the dye pigment. Next, using a folded pipe cleaner, the dye is applied in swatches over the stummel surface. With each application of dye, the wet aniline dye is ‘flamed’ using a lit candle. This combusts the alcohol in the dye and leaves the pigment behind in the briar. After the dye has been applied over the stummel, the stummel is set aside for several hours for the dye to ‘rest’ and settle into the grain.While the stummel is resting, I turn my attention to the stem. After sanding with 240 paper earlier, next is wet sanding using 600 grade paper. Following the 600 paper, 0000 grade steel wool is applied to the entire stem.Following the steel wool, the finer sanding begins with micromesh pads. Starting with wet sanding with pad 1500 to 2400 and then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to condition the stem and guard against oxidation. Wow! I love the pop that develops through the process. The P-lip with the wood stem ring is looking good.
The newly dyed stummel has been resting for several hours and it is time for one of my favorite parts of restoration. I have applied a Tan hue which I believe will emulate the original VAUEN motif – a lighter and subtler contrasting with the grains. We will see! The rotary tool is mounted with a new felt buffing wheel and the speed is set a bit slower than normal – about 35% full power. I slow it down because using the coarser Tripoli compound and the abrasive felt buffing wheel provide a lot of friction and heating. I do not want to scorch the briar. The unwrapping process begins as the felt wheel clears the crusted shell from the flamed dye. The felt wheel is purged often during the process to clean and soften the felt. The picture below shows the gradual process of removing the excess dye to reveal the contrasted grains. I enjoy watching the grain emerge. After completing the heavy lifting with the felt wheel, not shown is the change to the cotton cloth wheel and another round of applying Tripoli with the speed of the rotary tool increased to about 50% full power. This helps to continue sharpening the grain and removing excess dye.Following the Tripoli, to blend the new dye and to remove the flamed dye excess debris, the stummel is wiped with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.After reuniting the stem and stummel, another cotton cloth wheel is mounted, and the rotary tool’s speed is set to about 40% full power. The finer and less abrasive Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe. I decided to order a new Blue Diamond brick – it is becoming a bit tricky loading product onto the wheel!After the application of the Blue Diamond, the pipe is buffed with a felt cloth to remove the compound debris before applying the wax. The compound can cake up on the surface and needs a little help to be cleared. Well, I guess I forgot to take a picture of transitioning next to another cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on the rotary tool to apply carnauba wax to the pipe. After application of the wax, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.
Earlier, after inspecting the chamber after the cake had been cleared, I observed that there were minor heating veins in the chamber wall. This is not a problem, but I decided to provide the chamber a coating of activated charcoal and yogurt to provide a starter for the development of a cake to protect the briar. The width of a healthy cake layer should be maintained at about the width of a dime. Applying the charcoal/yogurt mixture also provides a nice cosmetic upgrade in consideration of the pipe’s destiny as a gift for Lina. The yogurt is regular, non-flavored with whole milk – my wife’s yogurt 😊. A small amount of yogurt is placed in a plastic container. Charcoal powder is then added to the yogurt and mixed with the pipe nail tool. Charcoal is added gradually until it is thick enough not to drip off the tool – it hangs together. You do not want a runny mixture in the chamber.A pipe cleaner is inserted through the draft hole to block any of the mixture from clogging the airway.Next, I use the pipe nail carefully to trowel the mixture into the chamber, starting at the floor, and spreading the mixture over the chamber surface. When I get to the top, I can easily remove any stray mixture on the rim and leave a smart, dapper line at the foot of the bevel. It looks good. The stummel is left in an upright position to allow the cake starter to cure through the night. One word to the new steward – do not scrape the chamber with a metal tool after putting it into service for the first several times. Instead, using a folded pipe cleaner ‘brush’ the chamber to clear excess ash.The next morning, the pipe is given another rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth. The quality and craftsmanship of this German made VAUEN 6294 P-lip Saddle Billiard is remarkable. I am pleased with the amazing resurrection of the grain presentation. Expressive and lively lateral grain flank the sides of the bowl which result in the expected showcase of bird’s eye grain swirls on the fore and aft briar canvas. The stylish ring of wood, very characteristic of the ‘VAUEN’ style, provides an attractive transition from the colossal, handful of a bowl to the classic P-lip Saddle stem. Since Darren commissioned this pipe as a special gift for a special daughter, he has the first opportunity to claim the VAUEN from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. Thanks for joining me! So that we don’t forget how far we have come:

Breathing Life into a 1950 Dunhill Shell Briar R Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is the second one that came to me from a friend up the British Columbia Coast. It is the second of two Dunhill pipes that he found in a shop along the coast. It is a Shell Briar Pot that is worn and has a lot of damage to the rim top. It is the pipe in the front of the photo below. You can see the damage to the rim top and how the rim top is damaged at the back and the front of the rim top and the outer edge of the bowl. The photo was sent to me by Chris. When the pipe arrived I took photos of what it looked like. Chris had done some preliminary cleaning of the pipe before he sent it to me and it look quite clean. It is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. On the heel of the bowl it is stamped with the shape number R followed by Dunhill [over] Shell Briar followed by Made in England with a superscript underlined 0. That is followed by 4 in a circle followed by S for Shell. Interpreting that stamp follows: The R is the shape for a straight stem Pot. The Dunhill Shell Briar is the finish which is corroborated the S in the circle. The underlined 0 following the D of England dates the pipe. The stamping is clear and readable. The age of the pipe and the oils in the sandblast finish has given the pipe a rich medium brown finish. There is also some interesting grain shows through the blast finish. There was still a thin cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top. The rim top had a lot of damage and wear on the top and outer edges.  The top was no longer flat. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button. I took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the damages. The rim top and edges are a mess with lots of damage caused by beating it against a hard surface. The photos of the stem show the light oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides. The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photo below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It has potential to be a great looking pipe.  I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Shell Briar Pipes to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Shell

A deep craggy sandblast with a black stain finish (usually made using Algerian briar) – the color of the stain used has varied over the years. Although there is some doubt as to them being the first to sandblast pipes, Dunhill’s Shell pipes, and the sandblasting techniques developed to create them are considered one of Dunhill’s greatest and most lasting contributions to the art of pipe making.

The documented history of Dunhill’s inception of the Shell is largely limited to patent applications — there are no catalog pages or advertisements promoting blasted pipes at the time. The preliminary work on the English patent (No. 1484/17) was submitted on October 13, 1917. The patent submission was completed half a year later, on April 12, 1918, followed by the granting of the English patent on October 14, 1918. This was less than a month before the end of The Great War on November 11th.

In 1986 Dunhill released a line of premium Shell finish pipes – “RING GRAIN”. These are high-quality straight grain pipes which are sandblasted. Initially only Ring Grain, but now in two different finishes. In 1995 the “Shilling” was introduced with Cumberland finish – it is an extremely rare series. These pipes exhibit a deeper blast characteristic of that of the 1930’s – mid-1960’s (and the limited ‘deep blast’ pipes of the early 1980s) and show a fine graining pattern. These are considered the best new Dunhills by many enthusiasts today and are very rare. The finish is sometimes described as tasting like vanilla at first, with the taste becoming more normal or good as the pipe breaks in.

I have also included a chart from the site from Dunhill spelling out the Standard Pipe Finishes and giving short information and a timeline.

I turned to Pipephil to establish a date for a Dunhill with the stamping that was on this pipe. The date stamp 0  (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1b.html) I have marked the box below with a red box around the part of the date key that is applicable. The pipe dates to 1950.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on the damaged rim top. I started the process by topping the bowl on a topping board and a piece of 240 grit sandpaper. My main concern was to flatten the top and remove some of the gouges and damages. I then built up the damaged areas on the front and back outer edges of the bowl with briar dust and CA glue. I wanted to raise the profile of the edge in those areas. I would rusticate them so I was not overly concerned with what it looked like at this point. I used various burrs on the Dremel to approximated the sandblast finish on the rim top and bring it back to reflect the sandblast and nooks and crannies on the sides of the bowl and shank. I stained the newly shaped rim top with an Oak and a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the bowl. I was pretty happy with the newly stained rim. It look a lot better than when I started and worked with the finish.I figured I should clean up the bowl after that work. I reamed it with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and took back the remaining cake to briar so I could check out the condition of the bowl walls. I cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I also cleaned out the inner tube at the same time. With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm. I cleaned out the tooth marks with alcohol and filled them in with black super glue. I set the stem aside to allow the glue to cure. Once it cured I recut the edge of the button with a file and then sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them out and blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite 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. This Dunhill Shell Briar R Pot is a beautiful sandblast that came out looking very good. The Shell Briar finish has a great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The oils off the smoker’s hands and the tan stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite taper stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Shell Briar R Pot is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36grams/1.27oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Breathing Life into a Dunhill Tanshell 253 Group 4 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to me from a friend up the British Columbia Coast. It is the first of two Dunhill pipes that he found in a shop along the coast. It is a Tanshell Briar Billiard that is worn and has a lot of damage to the rim top. It is the pipe at the back of the photo below. The second one is a Dunhill Shell Briar. The photo was sent to me by Chris. The second photo shows the damage to the rim top and edges. It was worn and damaged. The sandblast finish was destroyed and a chewed up top and edge was left behind.When the pipe arrived I took photos of what it looked like. Chris had done some preliminary cleaning of the pipe before he sent it to me and it look quite good. It is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. On the heel of the bowl it is stamped with the shape number 253 followed by Dunhill [over] Tanshell followed by Made in England. That is followed by 4 in a circle followed by T for Tanshell. Interpreting that stamp follows: The 253 is the shape for a straight stem Billiard. The Dunhill Tanshell is the finish which is corroborated the T at the end of the stamping. There is no date stamp following the D of England to date the pipe. The stamping is clear and readable. The age of the pipe and the oils in the sandblast finish has given the pipe a rich medium brown finish. There is also some interesting grain shows through the blast finish. There was still a thin cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top. The rim top had a lot of damage and wear on the top, the inner and outer edges. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth chatter ahead of the button.  I took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the lava overflow. The rim top and edges are a mess with lots of damage caused by beating it against a hard surface. The photos of the stem show the light oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides. The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photo below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.  I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Tanshell Pipes to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Tanshell

The first lot was distributed in 1952 (usually made using Sardinian briar). The prototype was called “Root Shell “, produced in 1951. The Tanshell is a light tan sandblast. Sardinian briar was used for this sandblast. There is a distinct contrast in the sandblasts using Sardinian as opposed to Algerian briar. The Sardinian is much denser and much harder. The resulting pattern, when blasted, is far more even and regular both in terms of the surface texture and the finish.

The Tanshell was Dunhill’s fourth finish and its first major post-war line addition. Introduced in 1951/1952 the Tanshell was a naturally stained sandblasted pipe made exclusively from Sardinian briar through the 1960s. The Tanshell apparently was not simply a light stained Shell but rather was also the product of “certain processes [unrevealed] not previously employed.” Initially, it appears that the pipe was to be named the Root Shell and a stamp to that effect was ordered and received by Dunhill in May 1951. Ultimately, however, the name Tanshell was settled upon but the stamp for the Tanshell name was not received by Dunhill until the beginning of December. Thus while the Tanshell was in production in 1951 it appears that most if not all Tanshells made in that year did not enter into retail distribution until 1952 and were given a 1952 date code. Loring, J. C., The Dunhill Briar Pipe, The Patent Years and After (self-published, Chicago, 1998).

I have also included a chart from the site from Dunhill spelling out the Standard Pipe Finishes and giving short information and a timeline.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the rim a slight bevel to bring it back into round.  While the finished rim edge is not perfect it is far better. To deal with the damaged rim top I gently topped it on a topping board and a piece of 240 grit sandpaper. My main concern was to flatten the top and remove some of the gouges and damages.I used various burrs on the Dremel to approximate the sandblast finish on the rim top and bring it back to reflect the sandblast and nooks and crannies on the sides of the bowl and shank. I stained the newly shaped rim top with an Oak and a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the bowl. I was pretty happy with the newly stained rim. It look a lot better than when I started and worked with the finish.I figured I should clean up the bowl after that work. I reamed it with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and took back the remaining cake to briar so I could check out the condition of the bowl walls. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I also cleaned out the inner tube at the same time. With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite 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.  This Dunhill Tanshell 253 Billiard is a beautiful sandblast that came out looking very good. The Tanshell finish has a great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The oils off the smoker’s hands and the tan stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite taper stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished 253 Tanshell Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36grams/1.27oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Resurrecting a Briar WDC Campaign Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I have finished restoring quite a few of the pipes in this collection that we purchased from the older gentleman. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection.

The next pipe I have chosen is a worn and damaged WDC Campaign Pipe with a calabash style bowl. I have drawn a red box around the pipe in the photo above. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top of the cup. The inside of the calabash style base was also very dirty. The rim top and edges were buried under a thick coat of lava. There was a large chip of briar out of the back of the rim top cup. It was filthy both inside and out. The shape caught my eye because it is quite lovely even under the grime and wear. The stem is hard rubber with flecks of metal in the rubber. It had tooth marks and chatter on both surfaces of the stem ahead of the button. This was another well loved pipe that obviously been a good smoker!

Jeff took some photos of the WDC Campaign Calabash before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top of the cup. The rim top was thickly covered and there was a large chunk of briar missing on the back of the cap. He took photos of the top and underside of the hard rubber stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides. Jeff also took some photos of the threaded bowl removed from the calabash base. You can see the small crack in the base of the cup. You can also see the dirty condition of both the inside of the base and the bottom of the cup.He also took photos of the base of the cup to show the cracks in the bottom of the bowl. He also took a photo of the chip in the top of the cap. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting grain even through the dirt and debris of many years. I turned to Pipedia to have a look at the article on the William Demuth Company and see if there was any information on the Campaign (https://pipedia.org/wiki/William_Demuth_Company). There a great article on the history of the brand. There was also a picture of a countertop display for the pipes and also a picture of the stamping on the side of the bowl. I am including them both below. This all briar pipe with a removable bowl is made by the American Company, William Demuth Co. It is a nicely grained older pipe that has a very interesting look to it. Because the old gentleman that we bought the pipes from intimated that he purchased his pipes at the Manhattan Barclay-Rex store I would imagine that he may have purchased this one from them as well. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe but I am assuming it is as old as the other pipes in the collection.

Jeff carefully took the pipe apart and cleaned it. He cleaned the calabash base and 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 of the briar. The edges of the cup had a huge chip out of the back edge. He scrubbed the hard rubber stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and soaked it in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that 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 top of the rim showed some darkening/heavy tars and there was heavy damage at the back of the bowl and edge. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the bowl. It was stamped with a WDC logo triangle and under that was clearly stamped CAMPAIGN. The stamping was clear and readable.I removed the bowl from the base, the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage on the back top of the bowl. I cut a chip of briar out of an old broken bowl that I have here. I used a Dremel to reduce the size of the briar chip. I glued it in place in the chipped area with clear CA glue. I filled in the crevices around the repaired chunk of briar with briar dust and clear CA to clean up the transitions between the bowl rim top and the repair. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to thin down and shape the rim cap. I also shaped the edge of the repair with the Dremel. I carefully removed more of the edge and the thickness of the repair with the sanding drum and Dremel. It was starting to look very good. I sanded the rim cap top with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and blend it into the surface. I restained the rim top with a mixture of Mahogany and Walnut Stain pens to blend it into the rest of the bowl.I polished the rim top of the cup and the entire briar base with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the cup, bowl and shank 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 old stem. The hard rubber had flecks of metal throughout the surface which told me it was a war years pipe or one made slightly after the war. I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.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. You can see the flecks of metal polished as well as the rubber stem! With the cup, bowl and the stem finished I buffed WDC Campaign “Calabash” base and stem with Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I avoided doing that to the rim cap/cup so as not to risk damaging it. I buffed it by hand. I gave the base and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the pipe with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I gave the cup multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I hand buffed pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I polished the nickel band with a jeweler’s cloth. The smooth finish on the bowl is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.55 ounces /44 grams. This Older WDC Campaign Pipe is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection it will make a fine smoking addition. 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.

Resurrecting an old Bulldog with a Bakelite Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

I have finished restoring quite a few of the pipes in this collection that we purchased from the older gentleman. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. You have seen many of the pipes that he had. These included Dunhill, BBB, Orlik, Barclay Rex, a cased Ben Wade, an H. Simmons all briar, Hardcastles and some Meerschaums. There were also some assorted others that I will get to in the days ahead. It was a great collection.

The next pipe I have chosen is a tired and worn looking older style Bulldog with a Bakelite stem with a bone tenon. I don’t know what it is about this pipe that caught my eye but something did. It certainly was not the condition of pipe. The bowl was in very rough shape. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top and edges were told buried under a thick coat of lava. The pipe was really a stranger to pipe cleaners. It was filthy both inside and out. The shape probably caught my eye because it is quite lovely even under the grime and wear. The stem is Bakelite and it was a complete mess. It had the end gnawed off  leaving behind a chipped and chewed end that was not eve square. I am not sure how much longer it was when it was made but it must have been longer than what we saw when we got. This was one well loved pipe that had been “ridden hard and put away wet”! It would be a challenge to see what I could do with it! In the end that is probably what drew me to the pipe!

Jeff took some photos of the Bakelite Stemmed Bulldog before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and both inner and outer edges are so thickly covered that it is hard to know their condition. It appears that there were nicks and chips on the outer edge at the back of the bowl that will require a bit of attention. All of the issues will become clearer after the clean up. He took photos of the top and underside of the Bakelite stem showing the gnawed end of the stem and the broken and missing chunks from the stem end. It appears that there were button remnants on both sides. Jeff also took some photos of the bone tenon and the shank end to show the appearance and condition of both.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting grain even through the dirt and debris of many years.   Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank to show the lack of a stamping. It appears that both sides had some sort of stamp on them but it was worn away.This unstamped Bulldog is an interesting looking pipe. Because the old gentleman that we bought the pipes from intimated that he purchased his pipes at the Manhattan Barclay-Rex store I would imagine that he may have purchased this one from them as well. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe was made but the fact that it is among the old timers I have been working on and the older Bakelite stem make me think it is older as well.

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 the dimensions of the grain. The edges looked good otherwise. He scrubbed the Bakelite stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and oils on the stem and chewed stem end. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that 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 top and inner and outer edge of the rim showed damage. There was serious damage back outer edge of the bowl. The stem was gnawed and that damage is very visible in the photos. I took photos of the shank sides to show that the stamping was worn away.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by dealing with the chewed end of the stem. I used a file/rasp that I have here to flatten the chewed off end. I squared it off to have a fresh surface to work on a new button. I propped the stem up on the shank to take a picture of the squared end of the stem.I used a triangular file to recut the sharp edge of a button on the newly shaped stem end. I used 220 grit sandpaper to shape the top of the stem and shape the angles.I spread a coat of clear CA glue on top of the button to seal the new edge and top of the button and set it aside to cure. I followed up on that by layering glue on the top of the button to build it up and give it some shape. Once the button repair cured I used the triangle file and 180 grit sandpaper to shape the button surface.There was still more shaping to do but the  stem was taking form. I took profile pictures of it to give a sense of the shape. There is much more sanding to do but it was coming along.I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I used a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to bring the inner edges of the bowl back into round. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the damage on the rim top and particularly the back of the bowl. I took a photo of the rim top after the topping. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I stained the rim top with an Oak stain pen to match the surrounding briar. Once it is buffed the match should be perfect.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank 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. With stem reshaped and built earlier in the process all that remained was to polish it. 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 beautiful No Name Bulldog back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The grain on this pipe really is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 4 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inch, 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 Old Bakelite Stemmed Bulldog is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. 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.

Pipe #1 of 7 – An Amazing Transformation of a Bruyere Extra Paneled Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

I love restoring pipes.  It reminds me of how life can be harsh resulting in broken people that need help and a second chance.  This sentiment is at the core of the collection of ‘broken and needy’ pipes in virtual ‘Help Me!’ baskets where what is required of would-be commissioners is the challenge to see the potential hidden under the grime and brokenness.  This is why the collection is called, ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ benefiting the truly broken and needy – the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Darren saw the potential, not just for one pipe but for 7.  In November he wrote:

Greetings from Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania, (and welcome back to the US)!  Thank you for your labor and love of pipes! It is with no small joy that I’ve tracked your blog posts on your various projects.  Recently, I was able to fully appreciate your handiwork in a pipe you restored for a close friend of mine in our local Cigar and Pipe club, Daniel XXXXXX.  Towards that end is the purpose of this mail.  From your many posts, I have a marginal appreciation for the time involved, and more significantly, the fact that there is a queue well-ahead of my inquiry. Admittedly unaware of your work queue, these pipes would be targeted for Christmas gifts – either 2021 or 2022.  At least three would be gifts for close friends, and others would be for my children to give to me. 😊

As Darren wrote above, Daniel, a fellow member of his Cigar and Pipe Club (See: FB Chester County Cigar Club – Holy Smokes), had commissioned a pipe (See:  Refreshing a Beldor Studio Mini Churchwarden Paneled Apple of Saint Claude) and through Daniel, Darren became aware of The Pipe Steward.  Here are the pipes Darren commissioned in the end:

A pretty impressive line-up of pipes!  The thing that stood out most to me about Darren’s selections was that they all were intended as gifts except for one.  I laughed when he revealed his true motives with fellow Club members.  He confided: The crowd I’m working to convert are mostly cigar guys, so a broader and deeper chamber helps them “feel” like they’re enjoying a long-smoke cigar 😊.   I found out later that the other recipient was to be his youngest daughter as an 18th birthday gift (continuing a tradition from her elder siblings).  This information about Darren warmed my ‘father’s’ heart.  I decided that the first of the 7 pipes that Darren commissioned would be the one destined for him – the Bruyere Extra Paneled Billiard, an attractive pipe.  Here are the pictures of the pipe that whispered to Darren: The nomenclature on the Paneled Billiard is stamped on the left side of the shank in old English script which is slightly curved, BRUYERE [over] EXTRA.I have little doubt about the country of origin of this pipe – France.  It was part of what I have called the French Lot of 50 which I acquired in August of 2018 from a seller in Paris when my wife and I were still living in Bulgaria.  This lot has been a gold mine of treasures.  The Beldor Studio Mini Churchwarden also came to me in this French lot.  The arrow marks the Paneled Billiard in the twisted embrace of so many orphaned pipes calling out to new stewards! 😊

Honestly, I am surprised this Paneled Billiard remained unclaimed as long as it did.  It is a beauty.  I’m hopeful that the restoration will be an easier one.  The chamber has almost no cake build up and the rim with only minor darkness from lighting practices.  The bowl has the normal grime needing to be cleaned but I see no fills in a nicely proportioned octagon which promises to showcase nicely the briar grain.  The stem shows some oxidation but almost no tooth chatter.  To begin the restoration of the Paneled Billiard, I start with cleaning the airway of the stem.  Using pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% the cleaning does not take long.Next, the Panel’s stem joins the other pipes that Darren commissioned in a soak of www.Briarville.com‘s ‘Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover.  This is a deoxidation product that I became aware of and am giving it a test run.  The stems in this batch will be a be a good test for the Oxidation Remover.  The directions describe the soak time from 2 to 24 hours as needed.  I’ll give the full 24-hour exposure.  With the stem soaking I turn to the Paneled bowl’s chamber.  The light carbon cake is dispatched easily with 2 blade heads from the Pipnet Reaming Kit and then the chamber walls are scraped with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool.  The job of clearing the chamber is completed with sanding using 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.An inspection of the chamber after wiping with a cotton pad to remove the carbon dust shows healthy briar.  I move on.The next step is to clean the external briar surface.  Using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, the smooth briar surface is scrubbed with a cotton pad.From the worktable, the stummel is taken to the sink where shank brushes are used with hottish water and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap to clean the internal mortise and airway.  After scrubbing and rinsing thoroughly, the stummel comes back to the worktable.To make sure the internals are clean, a few pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 99% confirm that the internals are clean. As is my usual practice, to clean further and to freshen the bowl for a new steward, I use a kosher salt and alcohol soak to draw latent oils and tars out of the internal briar walls.  A cotton ball is stretched and twisted and then guided down the mortise to the draft hole.  It serves the purpose of a ‘wick’ that draws out the tars and oils during the soaking process.The bowl is next filled with kosher salt and placed in the egg carton to keep it stable and to line up the top of the bowl with the top of the shank keeping them roughly level.  Kosher salt is used because it leaves no after taste.The bowl is then filled with isopropyl 99% with a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the alcohol is absorbed, and more alcohol is needed to top it off.  I then put the stummel aside for several hours as my wife and I head to Jensen Beach to enjoy a beautiful Florida day!Just to prove I was where I said I was – enjoying one of my favorites, a Savinelli Goliath with a beautiful Cumberland stem and shank ferrule.  This was the first pipe I restored for myself that had the specific purpose of going with me to the beach – then, on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria (See: A Goliath Among Giants – Releasing a Savinelli Goliath 619EX Italy). Today, the Goliath was packed with my favorite aromatic, Lane BCA.

Several hours later, back from the beach, the salt and cotton wick show some soiling indicating the oils drawn out, but not a lot.  After the salt is tossed in the waste, the bowl is wiped with paper towel and I blow through the mortise to make sure all the salt crystals have been removed.Just to make sure all is clean and there is no residue left behind, one cotton bud and one pipe cleaner evidence the fact that this stummel is cleaner than a whistle.  I whiff of the chamber reveals no hint of ghosting and a refreshed bowl for a new steward.The stem has been soaking for 24 hours in the product, ‘Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover’ by www.Briarville.com and is time to see the results. After fishing the Paneled Billiard’s stem out of the bottle, a cotton pad wetted with alcohol is used to wipe off the oxidation that was raised during the soaking process.  The cotton pad is soiled a good bit which is good news. I run another pipe cleaner through the airway wetted with isopropyl 99% to clear away any of the Oxidation Remover liquid residue.The stem is then further conditioned using paraffin oil, a mineral oil.  I put the stem aside to absorb the oil.Another close look at the Paneled briar surface reveals beautiful, tightly woven grain patterns. An inspection of the surface does not reveal any fills needing attention.  The condition of the surface is so good that I bypass using sanding sponges which is my normal next step if the surface had significant cuts, dents, and areas needing to be cleaned up.  Instead, I go directly to the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads to fine sand the striking briar surface.  Starting first with wet sanding, pads 1500 to 2400 are used.  Following the wet sanding, dry sanding continues with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I’m pleased with the way the briar grain emerges through the process.  The unique characteristic of Paneled shapes is that each panel gives a different ‘canvas’ view of the briar landscape.  The octagonal shape on this Billiard provides a lot to enjoy! I have had such good results from the process that I have developed to bring out briar grain so that it absolutely pops that I decide to apply to the Paneled Billiard.  I decide to apply a light brown dye to provide the contrasting.  The purpose of the dying is not to darken the bowl or to hide imperfections – which often is the need in a restoration project.  This pipe could continue as is to the final stages of polishing if I chose.  To apply dye at this point is to create more contrasting to bring out more strikingly the grain already present.  After all the components for dyeing have been assembled on the worktable, the first step after wiping the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to make sure it’s clean, is to warm the stummel over the hot air gun.  I believe this is an important step as the heat opens the briar as the stummel heats.  This helps the briar to be more receptive to the dye that is applied.After the bowl is warmed, a folded pipe cleaner applies or paints Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye to the stummel surface.  As an aniline dye, the base of the dye is alcohol.  The next step after a swath of the briar surface has been painted with dye, is to ‘flame’ the wet dye with the lit candle.  The result of this is that the alcohol in the dye immediately combusts when the wet dye meets the flame.  The combustion burns off the alcohol leaving the dye pigment behind for the briar to absorb.  Generally, what I have discovered is that the veins or the grain of the briar is softer wood and tends to absorb the dye more readily.  The harder wood between the veins is harder wood which does the opposite – does not absorb the dye pigment as readily.  This creates the dynamic that has resulted with striking briar grain.  After the entire bowl has been painted and flamed thoroughly, the stummel is set aside for several hours to rest.Turning back to the stem, I take a few customized pictures of the stem which usually enables one to see the residual oxidation left behind.  The pictures below don’t show much at all, though my eyes can see faint oxidation remaining in the bit area and the shank facing area.  The Briarville Stem Oxidation Remover has performed well it seems.  Even with the good performance of the removal of oxidation, the whole stem is sanded anyway to smooth the vulcanite and to remove miniscule tooth chatter.  To guard against ‘shouldering’ the shank facing, a plastic disk is used when the sanding is near the end of the stem.After sanding with 240 paper, next is wet sanding with 600 grade paper and then 0000 grade steel wool is applied.  Next is applying the finer sanding of micromesh pads.  Starting with wet sanding, pads 1500 to 2400 are used.  Following the wet sanding, dry sanding is next using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The vulcanite pops nicely after the full process is completed. The newly dyed stummel has been ‘resting’ overnight allowing the dye to ‘settle’.  This time seems to help the new dye to become more firmly absorbed into the briar and also helps guard against the new dye leeching onto the fingers after the pipe is put into service and heated for the first time.The next step is to ‘unwrap’ the newly dyed stummel which has a crust of ‘flamed’ light brown dye. A felt buffing wheel is mounted on the rotary tool and set at a slightly slower speed to guard against too much heat buildup.  Red Tripoli compound is then applied to the stummel and the unwrapping commences.I enjoy this part of the restoration process the most.  As the crust is removed by the felt wheel and compound, the grain is revealed showing how the dye was received by the grain.  The felt wheel collects a lot of the dye debris and is purged often during the process.  I rub it against the edge of the wooden chopping board that is used as a lap board during the use of the rotary tool.  Purging cleans the felt wheel and softens it.  I pause during the unwrapping to take a progress picture showing the crusted side compared to the unwrapped side.  The abrasion of the felt and coarse Tripoli compound helps to remove the globs of excess dye revealing the veins of the grain in crisp contrast.  This is my goal in applying a dye.Following the felt wheel, a cotton cloth wheel is mounted and the speed set to about 40% full power – faster than with the felt wheel.  Using the softer cotton cloth at a higher speed, Tripoli compound is used again to fine tune the contrast between the grains and to remove more excess crusted dye.  The cloth wheel also can reach into the more constrained area of the crook where the shank and bowl merge.  Next, the entire bowl is wiped with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to remove more excess dye and to blend the newly dyed surface. Following this, the stem and stummel are rejoined.  Another cotton cloth wheel is mounted to the rotary tool and the less abrasive Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe.After application of the compound, a microfiber cloth is used to wipe/buff the pipe to remove the compound dust left behind.  I do this in preparation for applying the wax.One extra step is included to help prevent new dye from leeching onto the fingers of the new steward when the pipe is first put into service.  When the pipe is first put into service, and the bowl is heated, it can result in new dye leeching.  To prevent this, the bowl is heated with the hot air gun to emulate the inaugural heating up of the stummel.  After the stummel is heated, it is then wiped briskly with a cotton pad to remove the dye released by the heating.The coloring of the cotton pad shows little leeching continuing. This is good.The home stretch – next, another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted to the rotary tool with the speed remaining the same at about 40% of full power.  Carnauba wax is then applied to the stem and stummel.  My general rule is ‘less is more’.  I’m careful not to load the surface with too much wax which will not dissolve and just be pushed around the stummel surface by the buffing wheel.  Using a rotary tool, one applications of wax is sufficient and then a few cycles over the stummel follow to make sure the wax is dissolved and absorbed into the briar surface.  After completing the wax application, the pipe is then given a hearty hand buffing with a microfiber towel to remove wax that hasn’t dissolved and to raise the shine.The transformation of this probable French Bruyere Paneled Billiard is amazing.  The application of fresh dye had the desired effect – to create a more vivid contrast with the briar grains.  Each of the 8 panels acts as a distinct part of the canvas showcasing bird’s eye, lateral flame grain and mesmerizing flourishes that hold the gaze.  The straight Billiard shape is the classic pipe with the octagonal Paneled bowl providing a touch of class.  This is the first of 7 pipes that Darren commissioned, and this Paneled Billiard Darren thought he would add to his collection.  He has the first opportunity to claim it from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  I love starting off with the ‘before’ picture to show the transformation. Thanks for joining me!