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Fashioning a Churchwarden by Reclaiming an East German Howal Sculpted Apple Bowl


Blog by Dal Stanton

One of the ways I can help benefit women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited – the Daughters of Bulgaria,is by fashioning Churchwardens from discarded repurposed bowls.  I enjoy taking discarded bowls, no longer serving any purpose, and after restoring them, mounting them on the fore of a long, flowing Warden stem.  Suddenly, the metamorphosis is realized – the neglected and discarded again becomes a treasure, sought after with great value.  John, from Utah, saw another CW I created – Fashioning a Churchwarden from a Dimpled Bent Billiard Bowl when I posted it on the Old Codgers Smoking Pipe Facebook group, and he reached out to me to explore commissioning a Churchwarden for himself.  This was the Dimpled Bent Billiard Churchwarden got his attention:After some months, John’s CW project finally worked its way through the queue, patience always appreciated(!) – and as I told him before, when his project was on the worktable, I would contact him with choices for a bowl.  I spread out a selection of bowls next to a Warden stem and ruler.  The selection included bent and straight shanks and smooth and rusticated surfaces – and different shapes.  The unique thing about the Churchwarden shape is that its designation is not determined primarily by the shape of the bowl but by the length of the stem.  After taking a few pictures, and sending them to John, he made his choice.John’s chose a very nice-looking sculpted Apple shape pictured on the right, in the middle.  Through this choice, he expressed that he preferred a straight rather than a slightly bent Warden stem.  When I pulled that bowl aside and took a closer look at the shank, I discovered that on the left side was stamped the name, ‘Howal’ [over] ‘Bruyere’.Howal is not a well-known name in the West, but I became familiar with it after seeing several Howals here in Bulgaria – formerly under the Warsaw Pact, behind the Iron Curtain of the Former USSR.  Having previously restored a Howal – a rusticated Dublin, I enjoyed the research of the Howal name which was a mystery to me.  My research uncovered not only the origins of the pipe in former East Germany, but that the city where Howals were produced was a historical center for pipe manufacturing in Germany that pre-dated WW2.  A fascinating story that I wrote of in this restoration: Checkered History and Heritage of an East German Howal Old Briar Rustified Dublin.

Pipedia’s article that I sited in that write up was both interesting and helpful in understanding the predecessor of and origins of the Howal name:

C.S. Reich was founded by Carl Sebastian Reich in Schweina, Germany in 1887. By its 50th jubilee in 1937 C.S. Reich was the biggest pipe factory in Germany.  In 1952, however, the owners of the company were imprisoned and the company itself was nationalized as Howal, an abbreviation of the German words for “wood products Liebenstein” or “Holzwaren Liebenstein”.  By the 1970’s Howal, after acquiring many other smaller pipe making firms, was the sole maker of smoking pipes in East Germany. In 1990, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of the Germanys, the company was closed.

As I reread that previous research on the history of the Howal name for this write-up, I decided to restate my observations in full because I don’t restore Howals often and the history and human story draws me to retell the story as I transform this Howal bowl into a Churchwarden.  From the previous restoration (my present comments in brackets):

While helpful for a broad sweep, I discovered much missing from this [Pipedia] summary and it raises more questions.  From another interesting source, Edith Raddatz’s lecture on tobacco pipe production in Schweina [a link which unfortunately is no longer working!] at the Tobacco Pipe Symposium in 2003, it describes a history of pipe production in this central German village that was reminiscent of my research into France’s pipe mecca, St. Claude.  A strong development of the pipe making industry can be traced in the 1800s to the apex of the C.S. Reich Co. being Germany’s largest pipe producer in 1937, but Raddatz’s lecture reveals that other producers of pipes were also based in the German village of Schweina.  Pipedia’s article above describes how the owners of the C.S. Reich Co. were arrested and imprisoned followed by the nationalization of the Reich Co. and becoming ‘Howal’, an acronym for “Wood Products Liebenstein” – Bad Liebenstein was the town that bordered and absorbed the village of Schweina. The question begs to be asked – which, unfortunately introduces the human tragedy wrapped around the name ‘Howal’ – Why were the owners arrested?  In an unlikely source, the website of the ‘Small Tools Museum’ adds the names of those imprisoned: shareholders Robert Hergert and Karl Reich.

Edith Raddatz’s lecture (referenced above) brings more light to the difficult geopolitical realities these people faced (Google translated from German – brackets my clarifications):

By 1945 the company, which had meanwhile [passed to] the next generation – Kurt Reich And Walter Malsch – [had] about 100 employees.   Among them were many women who mainly did the painting work.  At the beginning of the 1950s, an era ended in Schweina. The first [oldest] tobacco pipe factory in Schweina closed their doors. There were several reasons for this. Kurt Reich passed away in 1941, [and] Walter Malsch [in] 1954.  The political situation in the newly founded GDR made the conditions for private entrepreneurship difficult. The heirs of the company “AR Sons” [Reich family] partly moved to West Germany. The operation was nationalized, and later toys were made there.

In post WWII occupied Germany, the Soviet occupied section was declared to be a sovereign state and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was established in 1949 (See link).  With a rudimentary understanding of Marxism and the economic philosophy undergirding it, it is not difficult to deduce what brought the demise of the C. S. Reich Co. and the formation of Howal.  Solidification of the FDR’s hold on power paralleled the necessity to nationalize private ownership and to institute a State-centered command economy.  These efforts gained momentum and forced companies/workers to work more with no additional pay.  In 1952, the year that the owners of C. S. Reich Co., were arrested, this edict was advanced (See link):

In July 1952 the second party conference of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) took place in East Berlin. In SED General Secretary Walter Ulbricht‘s words, there was to be the “systematic implementation of Socialism” (planmäßiger Aufbau des Sozialismus); it was decided that the process of  Sovietization should be intensified and the importance of the state expanded. The party was acting on demands made by Soviet premier Joseph Stalin.[2]

As a result, today Germany remembers the Uprising of 1953 which started in East Berlin, as factory workers revolted against the repression of the GDR, and spread to all East Germany.  Many lost their lives as Moscow responded to squelch the unrest with tanks on the streets.  In play also, was the mass exodus of people fleeing to West Germany, which included, per Edith Radditz’s lecture, the Reich family, who would have been heirs of the family’s legacy and company – pipe making.  Also, in 1953, completing the State forced abolition of any Reich claim, the largest pipe making company of Germany was seized, nationalized, and changed from C. S. Reich Co. to Howal.  As ‘Howal’, pipes continued to be produced, undoubtedly with the same hands and sweat of the people of Schweina, along with other wooden products, such as toys.  In the Pipedia article I quoted above, it said:

By the 1970’s Howal, after acquiring many other smaller pipe making firms, was the sole maker of smoking pipes in East Germany. In 1990, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of the Germanys, the company was closed.

My curiosity piqued, what does it mean when it says that Howal acquired many other smaller pipe making firms?  Should we question whether these words can be understood in the normal free market enterprise way we are accustomed?  Doubtful.

…So, as I had written before regarding the checkered history of the Howal name.  Now, as I look again at the Howal sculpted Apple bowl on my worktable, I take a few more pictures to mark the starting point and to take a closer look. I very much like John’s choice of a bowl to fashion a Churchwarden.  The sculpting of the classic Apple shape will look very nice as a Warden – with a rustic, ‘Olde World’ look to it.  The condition of the Howal bowl is generally good.  The chamber has a heavy cake which will be removed to give the briar a fresh start and to check the chamber wall for heating problems.  The rim has some crusting lava overflow that needs cleaning. The rusticated surface with the intricate ribs carved into the sculpting also needs scrubbing to remove grime lodged in the wood.  Before working on the stem, I start the Howal Churchwarden project by using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  After taking a picture of the chamber showing the tightening chamber as the cake thickens, I use the two smallest blade heads of the 4 available and ream the chamber.  The cake proves to be stubborn – hard as a brick.  After the Pipnet Kit, transitioning to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool, clearing the cake continues as the tool scrapes the chamber wall. Finishing this phase, I wrap 240 paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the walls and then wipe the excess carbon dust with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.

After completing the removal of the cake and cleaning the walls, an inspection reveals no heating problems.  I move on.Next, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap I begin the external cleaning. I also employ a bristled toothbrush to get into the crevasses of the sculpted vertical sweeps, which are more detailed upon closer inspection. Within each crevasse, fine lines have been carved to provide a classier sculpted appearance. I like it. From the picture above, the lava flow caking on the rim is evident. A brass brush helps with removal of the crusting without damaging the briar underneath. The sharp edge of my Winchester pocketknife also helps as I carefully scrape the rim surface. From the worktable, I take the bowl to the sink and there using different sized long shank brushes with some anti-oil dish soap, I scrub the internal mortise under warm water.  After a thorough rinsing of the soap, I bring the bowl back to the worktable. The cleaning did a good job. I can now see the rim more clearly with a cut on the right side and some light damage on the left. The cleaning also reveals the residue of old finish on the smooth briar which shows up dark and shiny in the picture.  I’ll remove these patches with sanding.Starting with the rim, I take another picture showing the damage on the top and the bottom of the picture’s orientation.  The rim is sloped downwardly to form beveled rim peak. This is attractive and accentuates the Apple shape’s peaked rim. Going with this flow, I use 240 grade paper and sand the rim to freshen the lines and to remove the damage.  I show a few pictures to show the freshening progression. I follow the 240 paper by dry sanding with 600 grade paper on the rim.  I’m liking the emergence of a smooth grain contrast underneath.  A few blemishes remain on the rim at this point but I like the more rustic look – some imperfections on the rim accents the overall look.Next, to address the patches of old, dark shiny finish on the bowl’s surface, I dry sand using a 1500 micromesh pad to remove the old finish patches from the smooth briar surfaces of the sculpted motif.  I intentionally leave the rough rusticated briar in the sculpting untouched to preserve the original, darkened patina.  I’m aiming for an attractive contrast between the smooth briar, which will naturally lighten through the restoration process, revealing briar grain, with the rough, darkened sculpted briar. Not forgetting where I am in the cleaning process, I return to working on the internals with cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% – the strongest rubbing/cleaning alcohol available to me here in Bulgaria.  For a smaller Apple bowl, the internals were rife with old oils and tars.  I also did much excavation of tars and oils using the small dental spoon as well as drill bits.  With the bits, I hand turn a bit that is the same size as the drilling diameter which scrapes the wall.  The gunk seemed to have no end, yet finally, the cotton buds started to lighten, and I call the cleaning provisionally finished.  Later, I’ll continue the cleaning and refreshing of the internals by using a kosher salt and alcohol soak. Now to the stem fabrication.  I cease the stummel work at this point because there will be additional sanding as I size and sand the stem with the shank.  I take a few pictures to mark the starting point.  John prefers a straight stem for his Churchwarden which is not a problem.  The precast Warden stem has a very slight bend as it arrived on my table.  This will remain as it helps with maintaining the up/down orientation of the mounted stem.  The picture below shows the rough tenon oversizing which will be shaped to form a good junction with the Howal shank and tenon seating in the mortise. No shank/stem fitting is the same which means that sanding and finetuning the junction is always required.  The picture below illustrates this – the mortise drilling is slightly higher in the mortise which means that the upper thickness of the shank/mortise briar will be thinner and the lower will be slightly thicker.  Shaping the stem fit must factor this offset.The first step in fashioning the CW stem is to size the tenon.  I use the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool that I purchased from Vermont Freehand.  I keep the instructions tacked on the wall in front of me for a reminder and safe keeping!  A very useful tool to have for fashioning tenons.First, using an electronic caliper to measure the diameter of the mortise marks the target sizing of the tenon of the precast stem.  The mortise measurement is 7.95mm in diameter.  Using Charles Lemon’s (of Dad’s Pipes) methodology, I add about 50mm to this exact measurement to give me my ‘fat’ target.  The ‘fat’ target is what I will aim for when bringing the tenon down to size using the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool.  The ‘fat’ target (7.95mm minus 50mm) is about 8.45mm.  From this ‘fat’ point, I will sand the tenon by hand which gradually and patiently custom sizes the tenon to the mortise.The first thing needed is to pre-drill the tenon airway with the drill bit provided by the PIMO tool.  This enlarges the airway slightly enabling the insertion of the PIMO tool guide pin.  I mount the drill bit to the hand drill and drill out the airway.Next, the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool is mounted on the hand drill and I cut a small test sizing to give me the distance between the test cut and the ‘Fat’ target.  After cutting the test, I measure with the caliper and record 9.23mm and subtract the ‘Fat’ target, 8.45mm, leaving about .78mm to remove using the PIMO tool. Using the Allen wrench provided with the PIMO tool, I close the gap of the cutting arm and cut again.  I only cut a small portion out of the end of the tenon and then measure – this additional test cut guards from taking off too much.  The measurement of this test cut after closing the gap of the carbide cutter arm is 8.45mm.  On the button!  I finish the cut to the stem facing and begin sanding the tenon down. Using 240 grade paper, I uniformly sand the tenon so that the fit is snug, but not too snug.  As I sand the tenon, I often test the progress by inserting the tenon into the mortise.  I NEVER force the tenon to make it fit – a cracking sound of a shank is not a happy thing!I come to a point where the end of the tenon was butting up against the closing ridge from the mortise drilling.  I could detect the bump in the mortise.  Using the sanding paper and a flat needle file, I focus on tapering the end of the tenon so that it can navigate the narrowing mortise.  I don’t want to cut off the end of the tenon as a longer tenon provides a bit more strength for the longer stem’s reach.Finally, a good snug fit it accomplished and the stem is seated well.  The next step in the project is to fashion the shank around the new stem.  The pictures following show the overbite of the shank which needs sanding.To protect the Howal nomenclature and provide a sanding barrier, I wrap masking tape around the shank.  Using 240 sanding paper, I begin the process of sanding to bring the shank and stem into alignment. After making good progress, I discover a dimple at the seam of the precast stem just at the tenon facing. I’ve seen this before. To take the dimple out by sanding also will remove the corresponding briar on the shank side.  This I don’t wish to do more than is necessary.  I could also use the PIMO Tool to shave off more of the facing to remove the dimple.  Yet this would shorten the overall length of the Warden stem – not a good solution either. To remedy the dimple, after cleaning the area with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol, I spot drop regular CA glue on the dimple and immediately give it a spray of an accelerator so that the glue patch stays in place.  I don’t want CA glue running down the tenon facing!Shortly after, I rejoin the stem and Howal stummel and continue sanding the patch area.  The patch did the trick. The pictures show the results and the shank and stem are now in alignment.  I move on. Even though a precast Warden stem is new, it doesn’t arrive on the scene ready for action. Precast stems will usually not have smooth surfaces but tend to be ‘wavy’ – a leftover from the casting process. Therefore, sanding the entire stem is necessary. To do the initial rough sanding of the stem I use a coarse 120 paper to do the heavy lifting. As I sand the stem, the first picture below reveals what I’m describing as sanding reveals the rippled surface. After much sanding and bothersome rubber dust(!), the stem is shaping up well.  I’m liking what I’m seeing.With the rough sanding of the stem-proper done, I shape the button using the 120 grade paper and a flat needle file.  The first two pictures show the starting point and sanding – upper then lower. My day is ending, and the final project is to continue the internal cleaning and refreshing of the stummel.  To do this I use kosher salt and isopropyl 95% to give the internals a soak which helps draw out the tars and oils embedded in the internal briar.  I first stretch and twist a cotton ball to serve as a ‘wick’ that helps draw the oils out of the mortise walls.  Using a stiff wire, I guide the wick down the mortise and airway.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt – kosher doesn’t leave an aftertaste as iodized salt. After placing the stummel in an egg carton that keeps it stable, with a large eyedropper I fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until the alcohol surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the alcohol is absorbed, and I refill the bowl with alcohol.  I put the stummel aside to soak through the night. The next morning, the salt and wick are soiled indicating the activity of the soak through the night.  I toss the expended salt in the waste, wipe the chamber with paper towel and blow through the mortise to dislodge any salt crystals left behind.  To make sure all is clean, I again employ a pipe cleaner and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% to finish the cleaning.  Not long after, the buds are emerging clean.  I move on. I return now to a reunited stem and stummel, using 240 sanding paper I now start the fine tuning of the stem after the coarse 120 paper. To show the completed condition of the stem after the 240 grade paper sanding, two close-ups show the improved texture of the sanded surface.Next, for more fine tuning of the stem’s surface, I wet sand with 600 grade paper and follow by applying a buff with 000 grade steel wool.  I love to see the emergence of the buffed-up vulcanite stem!  I keep the stem and stummel united throughout the sanding process to assure that the stem’s tenon facing remains sharp and in alignment with the shank – shouldering the stem is not an option!Turning back to the Howal bowl, I remove the masking tape and take some pictures marking the stage of progress. I like the rustic look this bowl already has.  My approach will be to run the bowl through the full regimen of micromesh pads to bring out the shine and briar of the smooth briar surfaces – going over for the most part, the sculpted surfaces.  At that point I’ll determine if I need to darken the shank end that was lightened because of the stem sanding.  I also will freshen the darker sculpted sections with a stain stick.  I’ll keep the stem and stummel joined through this process which will aid me later when I continue with the micromesh process on the stem. I take pictures of the bowl to mark the starting point. Beginning with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The pictures show the progression. The grain came out of the smooth briar nicely.  Now, to freshen the sculpted sections.  With the fine lined carvings in each sculpted section, briar dust has collected from all the sanding.  I first brush the carvings with a bristled brush.  This removes a good deal.  Following this, with an alcohol wetted cotton bud, I wipe out each carved section.  Next, using a very dark brown dye stick which turns out to be a mahogany, which looked the best after blending with the original surface, I trace the carvings darkening the sculpted briar.  After finishing, I give another quick sanding over the smooth briar surface with the last of the micromesh sanding pads, 12000.  I do this to clean off any inadvertent overrun of the dye stick onto the smooth briar and to sharpen the lines. Using Before & After Restoration Balm, I place some on my fingers and work the Balm into the briar surface.  I’m careful to work it into the crevasses of the sculpting.  B&E Restoration Balm is an excellent product from Mark Hoover at www.ibepen.com that raises the natural hues in subtle ways that enhances the presentation of the pipe.  After thoroughly working the Balm into the briar surface, I set the bowl aside for 20 minutes to allow the Balm to do its thing.  The second picture shows this state.  After 20 minutes, I wipe the excess Balm with a cotton cloth and then buff the stummel with a microfiber cloth to thoroughly remove the excess Balm and to raise the shine.The next step is to apply Blue Diamond compound to the entire pipe.  After reuniting stem and stummel, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, set the speed at about 40% full power and apply a light application of the compound focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the smooth briar sections.  I keep it light because I do not want the compound to cake up in the rusticated ridges of the sculpting.  I apply the compound to the smooth and rusticated surfaces and to the stem.Following the compound, I use a felt cloth to wipe the pipe to clean it of compound dust.  I don’t want compound mixing with the waxing phase.After switching to another cotton cloth buffing wheel, maintaining the same speed, carnauba wax is applied to the entire pipe.  As with the compound, I go easy on the rusticated ridges not wanting wax to cake.  After applying wax to the entire pipe, I use a microfiber cloth to give the Howal Churchwarden a rigorous hand buffing to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.The Howal Sculpted Apple bowl looks great mounted on the bow of the Churchwarden stem!  I’m pleased how the smooth briar surfaces cleaned up and how the grain provides a striking contrast with the sculpted design.  The added rusticated ribs in the carvings adds a nice detail.  The overall presentation of the Howal Sculpted Churchwarden gives a very old, rustic feel.  I’m glad John was patient waiting for this Churchwarden to come to life.  He will have the first opportunity to add this pipe to his own collection from The Pipe Steward Store.  This Churchwarden project benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Restemming a “Malaga” Billiard from Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. This morning I was looking through the bag of pipes that I have left from George Koch’s estate. There are only three of them and all were in pretty rough shape. The rims were well knocked about and the stems were either chewed off or through and really would need to be carefully worked over and have new stems fit to them. The second of these three Malaga pipes that need a lot of attention was the next one I picked up this morning. It is a Billiard with a chewed through stem. Once again the rim top was used as a hammer or at least spent a lot of time being knocked against hard surface. The rim top was scored and originally had a bit of sunburst look around the chamber. But sides of the bowl had a mix of grain styles that was fascinating. It is the second of the last three Malaga pipes that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. Alex had gone through the bag in essence had passed on these three. Jeff unwrapped the pipes when they came to him and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. In each of the previous blogs that I have written on the restoration of George’s pipes I have told his story. If you have followed the restorations you will have read the information and the background piece that Kathy did on her father. Here is a link to one of the previous blogs on his Malaga pipes where I included her tribute in full (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/26/back-to-kathys-dads-pipes-restoring-a-%c2%bc-bent-malaga-author/). You can also read the bio on her Dad, George Koch. It is an interesting read and one that shows just how far our pipe collecting passion can go when we find a brand of pipes that we enjoy. I am going to only include the portion on the Malagas at this point. If you wish to read the rest follow the link above.

Kathy writes…We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all. 

He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack…I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

The “Malaga” Billiard on the table is another on that is in rough condition. But even under the damage and dirt I can see the great grain on the briar. There was an interesting sunburst pattern of grooves carved in the rim top. The large bowl, round shank and chewed through acrylic stem give a clear picture of what the pipe must have looked like when George bought it at the shop. Again, I did not bother Jeff for the pre-cleanup photos because really it was obvious what the pipe must have looked like. From the condition of the bowl and rim post cleanup I could see that it originally had a thick cake that overflowed with lava onto the rim so that there was damage on the inner edges. The rim top had been knocked hard against rough surfaces to knock out the dottle and left damage. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the left side of the shank read “MALAGA”. The acrylic stem had been gnawed through leaving a useless stem that would need to be replaced. Since Paresh is not here in Canada it will be replaced rather than rebuilt! 😉 I took photos of the pipe before I started my work. The condition of the pipe will be shown in the photos below. I took a photo of the  rim top and bowl to show the condition of the pipe. You can see why I said it was used as a hammer. The surface of the rim is very rough but you can see the carved sun burst like grooves.  The inner edge of the rim looks good while the outer edge has some damage. There is some darkening on the back edge and surface of the rim top. I think that this pipe must have been another shop pipe or knock about pipe for George as it was very well smoked! I took photos of the stem to show the broken and chewed condition it was in. Remember this is hard acrylic so it took some real gnawing to do this to it!I took a photo to capture the stamping on left side of the shank. The photo shows the stamping “MALAGA” and is very readable.I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff had gone to the trouble to ream the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. All of his work gave me a clean pipe to work on to say the least. I decided to start with the new stem. I went through my collection of stems to find one that was the same dimensions as the ruined stem. I found one in my can that would fit the bill. Interestingly it is a twin bore bite proof stem like the other ones that Malaga used when they restemmed pipes.I set up my cordless drill with the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool in the chuck and started turning the tenon on the new stem back to match the broken one. I usually do the turning in several passes, adjusting the depth of the blade between each cut. In this case I did it in three passes. I got it close and finished the fit with my Dremel and sanding drum.I sanded off the castings on the sides and slot end of the stem with the Dremel and sanding drum and did a few turns on the tenon with the sanding drum. You can see from the first photo below that it was very close. I cleaned it up with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. You can see the fit in the photos below.I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the outer edge on rim top. Once I had the edges smooth I filled in the deeper nicks and chips in the outer edge of the rim with clear Krazy Glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and a piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I used a pen knife to clean up the cut marks on the rim top. Some of them were worn so I recut them to give them more definition. I cleaned up the carving with a brass bristle wire brush to clean up the repairs. The second photo shows the cleaned up rim top.I scrubbed the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and let it sit for about 10 minutes then rinsed it off with running water. I dried it off with a soft cloth. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the rim edge repairs and the nicks in the bowl sides. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The photos show the progress. I used a Mahogany Stain Pen to stain the carvings on the rim top to blend all of the darkening together and make it stand out. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad. You can see from the photo below that I was able to blend it into the rest of the bowl.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I am very happy with the results. I turned to the stem and started by sanding the surface. I wanted to smooth out the surface of the vulcanite to remove the castings and the sanding marks. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to clean up the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad Obsidian Oil. I finished by polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine and then wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. This is a restemmed and restored “Malaga” Billiard with a vulcanite tapered “bite-proof” stem. The new black vulcanite stem looks good in place of the yellow acrylic stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape of the bowl, the reshaped and repaired rim top and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the grain around the bowl sides. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have completed. I am looking forward to a new pipeman picking up this pipe and will carry on the trust for George Koch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

Restemming another “Malaga” Billiard from Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. This morning I was looking through the bag of pipes that I have left from George Koch’s estate. There are only three of them and all were in pretty rough shape. The rims were well knocked about and the stems were either chewed off or through and really would need to be carefully worked over and have new stems fit to them. The third of these three Malaga pipes that need a lot of attention was the next one I picked up this morning. It is a Billiard with a chewed through acrylic stem. Of the three was the least beat up of the three. The rim top had some damage on the flat surface and the inner edge. But sides of the bowl had great looking flame and mixed grain that was fascinating. It is the last of the three Malaga pipes needing restemming that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. Alex had gone through the bag and had passed on these three. Jeff unwrapped the pipes when they came to him and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. In each of the previous blogs that I have written on the restoration of George’s pipes I have told his story. If you have followed the restorations you will have read the information and the background piece that Kathy did on her father. Here is a link to one of the previous blogs on his Malaga pipes where I included her tribute in full (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/26/back-to-kathys-dads-pipes-restoring-a-%c2%bc-bent-malaga-author/). You can also read the bio on her Dad, George Koch. It is an interesting read and one that shows just how far our pipe collecting passion can go when we find a brand of pipes that we enjoy. I am going to only include the portion on the Malagas at this point. If you wish to read the rest follow the link above.

Kathy writes…We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all. 

He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack…I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

This second “Malaga” Billiard on the table is the least damaged of the three. Under the damage and dirt I can see the great grain on the briar. There were some scratches and nicks in surface of the rim top. The large bowl, round shank and chewed through acrylic stem give a clear picture of what the pipe must have looked like when George bought it at the shop. Again, I did not bother Jeff for the pre-cleanup photos because really it was obvious what the pipe must have looked like. From the condition of the bowl and rim post cleanup I could see that it originally had a thick cake that overflowed with lava onto the rim so that there was damage on the inner edges. The rim top had been knocked hard against rough surfaces to knock out the dottle and left damage. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the left side of the shank read MALAGA. The acrylic stem had been gnawed through leaving a useless stem that would need to be replaced. Since Paresh is not here in Canada this is another that will be replaced rather than rebuilt! 😉 I took photos of the pipe before I started my work. The condition of the pipe will be shown in the photos below. I took a photo of the  rim top and bowl to show the condition of the pipe. You can see why I said it was used as a hammer – though less than the others. The surface of the rim is very rough. The inner and the outer edge have some damage. There is some darkening on the back inner edge, bevel and surface of the rim top. I think that this pipe must have been another shop pipe or knock about pipe for George as it was very well smoked! I took photos of the stem to show the broken and chewed condition it was in. Remember this is hard acrylic so it took some real gnawing to do this to it!I took a photo to capture the stamping on left side of the shank. The photo shows the stamping MALAGA and is very readable.I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff had gone to the trouble to ream the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. All of his work gave me a clean pipe to work on to say the least. I decided to start with the new stem. I went through my collection of stems to find one that was the same dimensions as the ruined stem. I found one in my can that would fit the bill.I set up my cordless drill with the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool in the chuck and started turning the tenon on the new stem back to match the broken one. I usually do the turning in several passes, adjusting the depth of the blade between each cut. In this case I did it in three passes. I got it close and finished the fit with my Dremel and sanding drum.I sanded off the castings on the sides and slot end of the stem with the Dremel and sanding drum and did a few turns on the tenon with the sanding drum. You can see from the first photo below that it was a good snug fit. The diameter of the stem was larger than the shank do I would need to remove the excess material to get a solid fit.I used a Dremel and sanding drum to remove the excess material from the stem and get it close to the diameter of the shank. I worked over the diameter with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the stem. It still has a ways to go before it was finished but it was getting pretty close. I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I removed the damaged areas on the rim top. I did not need to remove too much to bring it back to smooth condition and the outer edge was still clean.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner bevel of the bowl. I worked it at an angle to clean up the edge and to give it a smooth bevel.I scrubbed the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and let it sit for about 10 minutes then rinsed it off with running water. I dried it off with a soft cloth. I used an Oak Stain Pen to stain the carvings on the rim top to blend all of the darkening together and make it stand out. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad. You can see from the photo below that I was able to blend it into the rest of the bowl.I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the rim edge repairs and the nicks in the bowl sides. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The photos show the progress. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I am very happy with the results. I turned to the stem and started by sanding the surface. I wanted to smooth out the surface of the vulcanite to remove the castings and the sanding marks. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to clean up the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad Obsidian Oil. I finished by polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine and then wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. This is a restemmed and restored Malaga Billiard with a vulcanite tapered stem. The new black vulcanite stem looks good in place of the black chewed acrylic stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape of the bowl, the reshaped and repaired rim top and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the grain around the bowl sides. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have completed. I am looking forward to a new pipeman picking up this pipe and will carry on the trust for George Koch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

Restoring my Inherited Huge KBB Yello-bole “Imperial” # 68c


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe on my work table had all the traits/ signs of it being used by my grand old man; it was huge, it was solid with a nice hand fill, it was heavily caked with severe signs of being knocked around the rim edges, blocked shank and stem airways and the likes!! From the number of pipes that I have inherited from him, it appears that regular pipe cleaning and maintenance was an alien concept to him and whence a pipe fouled up, he just chucked it and got a new one- a very simple concept, to say the least!

The pipe that I decided to work on is a large full bent billiards with a P-lip stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “YELLO-BOLE” over “REG. U.S. PAT. OFF” (Registered U.S. Patent Office) in block capital letters over “Imperial” in cursive script over “CURED WITH REAL HONEY”. To the left of these stampings towards the bowl, KBB is stamped in the clover leaf. The right of the shank bears the stamp of “ALGERIAN BRUYERE” over shape code “68C”. The shank end is adorned with a ferrule that bears the stamping of K B & B in a clover leaf over “NICKLE PLATED”. The stem bears the Yello-Bole logo in bright yellow circle. All the stampings are crisp and clear and is definitely surprising that it has survived over all these years!! Researching a pipe is always an enriching learning and I look forward to the same on every pipe that I work. Having worked on a few Kaywoodies and also on Yello-Bole, I knew about the connection between the two. However, what intrigued me during the research is that both the brands also have shared the shape codes along the way, albeit at different points in time. Given below are extracts of the most relevant details from pipedia.com, specifically pertaining to this pipe on my work table, wherein I have highlighted information which merits attention:-

Tips for Dating Yello-Bole Pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Yello-Bole#Tips_for_Dating_Yello-Bole_Pipes)

  • KBB stamped in the clover leaf indicates it was made in 1955 or earlier as they stopped this stamping after being acquired by M. Frank.
  • Pipes from 1933-1936 they were stamped “Honey Cured Briar”
  • Post 1936 pipes were stamped “Cured with Real Honey”
  • Pipe stems stamped with the propeller logo were made in the 1930’s or 1940’s – no propellers were used after the 1940’s.
  • Yello-Bole used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 1930’s.
  • Pipes with the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it were made in the 1930’s, this stopped after 1939.
  • Pipes stamped BRUYERE rather than BRIAR it was made in the 1930’s.

Thus, from the above tips it is evident that I am dealing with a pipe from the 1930s. However, when I visited the pipedia.com page on Collector’s Guide on Kaywoodie (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes#HINTS_ON_COLLECTING.2C_DATING_AND_PRICING_KAYWOODIES), under the heading 1947 Kaywoodie Shape Numbers and Descriptions”, I found the shape # 68C with the description as Extra Large Billiard, Full Bent which perfectly matched with the size and shape of the pipe on my work table.

Also on the same page, there is a picture of an advertisement flyer for CHESTERFIELD KAYWOODIE from 1947. The similarities between this Kaywoodie (read P-lip stem, large sump, massive size and shape) and the Yello-Bole that I am working on is striking.

Thus, the pipe that I am working on is from 1930s, specifically after 1936 as per the stampings seen on the pipe, however, the shape number and description matches with the Kaywoodie catalogue from 1947. Thus it is an interesting conflict as Yello- Bole was designed as an outlet for lower grade briars not used in Kaywoodie production, but the shape code and Chesterfield similarities were incorporated in Yello-Bole earlier than its introduction in Kaywoodie pipes!! I would be happy if anyone reader can clarify this conflict.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber is heavily caked with lava overflow on the rim top surface. The inner edge of the rim is severely damaged. Nicks and dings are also seen along the outer rim edge and chamber appears out of round. Chamber has strong odors of sweet smelling tobaccos. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon once the cake has been reamed down to the bare briar, but going by the solid feel of the external surface, I do not foresee any serious issues/ surprises with the chamber walls. The stummel surface is covered in dust, dirt and grime of years of use and uncared for storage for the last 45 years when my grandfather quit smoking in the late 1970s. Oils and tars have overflowed over the stummel and have attracted dust giving a dull and lackluster appearance to the stummel. A number of minor dents and scratches are seen over the stummel, notably towards the front, foot and the bottom of the shank. Through all the dirt, some really stunning straight and bird’s eye grains are waiting to be exposed. The mortise is, well mildly put, clogged to hell and back!! That the sump is overflowing and overfilled with accumulated gunk is a fact that could be seen with the naked eyes. Believe you me readers, the pipe smells are too strong. The large bent vulcanite stem exudes high quality and is heavily oxidized. The tenon is covered in a very thick coat of dried gunk and blobs of accumulated dried tars are seen inside the wide tenon opening. This also indicates the extreme clogging that can be expected in the expanded portion of the stem and in the stem air way. The lower button edge has a deep tooth indentation and tooth chatter in the bite zone. The button edge on the upper surface has worn down and would need to be sharpened. The lower end of the stem at the tenon end which enters the mortise shows severe scratch marks and chipped surface, the result of rubbing against the sharp edges of the ferrule at the shank end. INITIAL CLEANING BY ABHA…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Unfortunately, this time around, she could not clean the stem as it was too large to fit in to the container of the stem deoxidizer solution.

ONCE THE PIPE IS ON MY WORK TABLE…
The chamber is massive, that is what I noticed first when I got the cleaned up pipe on my work table. The wall of the chamber shows insignificant beginnings of heat fissure on the left and back of the chamber walls. Though insignificant now, if not addressed at this stage, these heat fissures may further lead to burn outs. I need to address this issue. The rim top surface is uneven and pock marked with dents and dings. The inner edge is severely damaged with dents and dings, some of them quite large. The chamber is significantly out of round, most notably on the left side in 10 o’clock direction. The rim repairs required are extensive.The nicely cleaned stummel looks exciting with beautiful transverse flowing straight grains on the sides of the stummel and shank and bird’s eye on the front of the stummel and extending to the bottom of the shank. Patches of old lacquer coat can still be seen in the fold between the bowl and shank and also along the bottom of the stummel. The dents and scratches to the front and at the foot of the stummel are now clearly visible. I intend to let them be as they are part of the pipe’s past and also since I wish to preserve the patina. Abha has painstakingly cleaned out the mortise and the sump. However, I could still see remnants of the gunk in the sump and the still strong odor is a pointer to the requirement of further sanitizing the internals of the stummel. The ferrule at the end of the shank end came loose as I was inspecting the stummel. This gave me an opportunity to closely inspect the shank end for cracks or any damage. Lucky me, there are no such hidden gremlins here!! I did notice a fill at the base where the ferrule sat on the shank end (circled in yellow) that would need to be refreshed. The edges of the ferrule at the shank end have become very sharp (I did manage a nick during inspection) that had caused the damage observed on the tenon end of the stem. I need to address this issue. The unclean stem that came to me shows heavy scratches to the tenon end which seats in to the mortise and caused due to the sharp edges of the ferrule. I will address this issue by sanding the surface followed by a fill, if required. The upper surface and button edge of the P-lip shows damage and will have to sharpen the button while sanding and filling the surface. Similarly, the lower button edge has a deep tooth indentation and will need a fill to repair. The heavy oxidation will be a bear to get rid off given the size of the stem. The tenon is covered in a thick coat of dried gunk, not to mention the clogged the stem air way. THE PROCESS
As is my norm, I started the process with stem cleaning and repairs. I cleaned the accumulated dried gunk from the insides of the tenon by scrapping it out with my dental tools followed by q-tips, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I soon realized that no matter how many pipe cleaners and q-tips I used, the insides of the wide tenon will still keep throwing out dirty pipe cleaners. I would need to use a more invasive method. Using a shank brush and dish washing soap, I thoroughly cleaned out the gunk. I rinsed it under running warm water. Once satisfied with the internal cleaning, with my fabricated knife I scrapped off the dried oils and tars from the tenon surface. I wiped the tenon end with cotton swab and alcohol till clean. I also cleaned the stem air way and the slot end with pipe cleaners and alcohol.While I was working on the stem, a colleague had come visiting and was amazed at the patience and care being exhibited, traits which I am usually not associated with. He did crack a joke on this and clicked a couple of pictures which I have included here for posterity.I cleaned the stem surface with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab and followed it with a scrub using Murphy’s Oil soap and cotton swab. I also smooth the sharp edges of the ferrule with a folded piece of 150 grit sand paper. I mix clear superglue and activated charcoal and paint the damaged tenon end surface and also applied it over the both button edges, upper P-lip surface and lower surface of the P-lip. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure. I cleaned the stummel surface with acetone on a cotton swab to remove the patches of old lacquer. This cleaning further highlighted the beautiful grains on this pipe. This is sure going to be beautiful pipe in my collection. Next I decided to address the issue of strong odor in the chamber. To eliminate the ghost smells from the pipe, I decided to treat it with salt and alcohol. I do not use Kosher salt as it is not readily available here and if available, it’s very expensive. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over a period of time. I pack the sump with cotton and draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in the chamber. I pack cotton balls in to the remaining portion of the mortise. Thereafter, I pack the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim inner edge. I soak the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol has gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I top it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol has drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber, sump and mortise and the cotton and alcohol had fulfilled its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and the dirt can be gauged by the appearance and coloration of the cotton balls. With my fabricated knife and dental tools, I spent the next hour scrapping out the entire loosened gunk. I ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk that had lodged when I cleaned the sump and mortise. The chamber now smells clean, fresh and looks it too. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. By this time the stem fills had cured and with a flat head needle file, I sand these fills to achieve a rough match. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 400, 600, 800 grit sand papers and finally with a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite.The next stummel issue to be addressed was that of the rim top surface damage. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the charred surface was addressed to a great extent and the rim top surface is nice, smooth and even. The inner edge is still uneven, though much better than before topping, and shall be addressed next. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I created a slight bevel on the inner edge of the rim top surface. This helped to mask the out of round chamber and address the sever dents that had remained on the inner rim edge. It can never be perfect, it’s a repair after all, but the repairs sure looks great. I know I have scrapped the shank end while topping the rim, I should have been careful, but I noticed it early and will be under the ferrule, so no sweat!! The one fill which was seen and readied for a fresh fill was patched up with a mix of briar dust and superglue and set aside to cure. Once the fill had hardened, and it was very quick indeed, I matched the fill with the rest of the stummel surface by sanding the fill with a flat head needle file followed by sanding the fill with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper.To preserve the patina and bring a deeper shine, I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. The massive size of the stummel helps accentuate these grains further. The result of all the topping and subsequent micromesh polishing was that the rim top surface had a lighter hue as compared to the rest of the stummel surface. I matched the rim top surface with the rest of the stummel by staining the surface with a dark brown stain pen. I set it aside for the stain to cure.Turning my attention back to the stem, I decided to polish and shine up the stem surface. I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 12000 girt micromesh pads. Next I rub a small quantity of extra fine stem polish that I had got from Mark and set it aside to let the balm work its magic. After about 10 minutes, I hand buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth to a nice shine. I rub a small quantity of olive oil in to the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside. After the rim top surface stain had cured for about 6 hours, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. I applied the balm over the rim top surface also. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful darkened grain patterns on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I wiped it with a microfiber cloth. The rim top is now perfectly matched with the rest of the stummel dark coloration. I am very pleased with the blend. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches. It was at this point in the process of restoration that I realized that I am yet to attach the ferrule at the shank end. I rub a small quantity of ‘Colgate’ toothpowder over the ferrule surface. Those who have not tried out this trick, you must try it out at least once, it works like magic and imparts a nice shine to the nickel plated (it works even better on Sterling Silver) ferrule. I apply superglue over the shank end, align the ferrule stamp with that on the shank and attach the ferrule over it. I press it down firmly for a couple of minutes to let the glue set. After the glue had completely cured, I tried the seating of the stem in to the mortise and realized that the stem surface still brushed against the sharp ferrule edge. With a needle file I sand the edges, frequently feeling for the sharpness with my fingers and checking the seating of the stem in to the mortise. Once the edges and seating were smooth, I applied a little petroleum jelly on the walls of the mortise as this reduces friction and moisturizes the briar and moved on to the home stretch.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks beautiful. Having addressed the cosmetic aspect of this pipe, I move on to address the functionality aspect by addressing the ridges and re-entrant formed at the draught hole as well as the minor/ insignificant heat fissures. I insert a petroleum jelly coated pipe cleaner in to the draught hole. I mix a small quantity of the contents from the two tubes of J B Weld in equal proportions and apply it evenly only over the damaged area near the draught hole with my fingers. I had to work deftly and fast as the compound starts to harden within 4 minutes. I set the stummel aside for the JB Weld coat to completely harden.The next day, the compound had completely hardened. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded the fill to as thin a layer as I thought would be just sufficient to protect the heel and ensure a smooth even surface for the pipe mud coating.Next I mixed activated charcoal and yogurt to a thick consistency and evenly applied it over the chamber walls and set it aside to dry out naturally. Once the coating had dried I buffed the pipe again with a microfiber cloth to a nice deep shine. P.S. This was a fun project and I absolutely loved and enjoyed working on it. It has some stunning grains and beats me that even though Yello-Bole was designed as an outlet for lower grade briars not used in Kaywoodie production, this beauty is anything but lower grade!! This would be joining my collection and I shall get to admire the beauty whenever I so desire.

Thank you all for sparing your valuable time in reading thus far and I would be happy to hear comments on the conflict that I find between Yello-Bole and Kaywoodie.

Emergency Repair for a Friend – Repairing a Broken Shank on a Thompson Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

Probably some time early in the past year Al purchased this pipe from Jeff and me. It quickly became his favourite pipe and he enjoyed smoking it. He wrote me a quick email a few weeks ago which I include here

Steve, I purchased a Thompson Freehand in red stain some time ago. It has become my most favorite pipe. However, the pipe suffered catastrophic damage as the stem broke cleanly at the base of the bowl, the result of a slip of the grip while at the buffing wheel despite my vise like grip.

I’ve included a photo of my favorite pipe in hopes that you can perform a miracle of craftsmanship.

Help me Steve, you’re my only hope!

Sincerely, Al — newly retired and heartbroken…He had cleaned it and was buffing it and the pipe got away from him (pipe restorer’s and repairman’s nightmare). It hit the floor or wall or something hard anyway and the shank snapped off at the bowl. It was a clean break and looked repairable. It arrived on Tuesday this week. I opened the box and I found the stem and shank carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and tissue and the bowl separately wrapped the same way. Both had been packed in a pipe box and carefully cushioned with paper and bubble wrap in a larger box. I always wonder what the Customs Inspectors must think when they open these carefully wrapped packages and find a broken, used tobacco pipe. They must shake their heads in disbelief that such care would go into packing such “debris”. I took the pipe from the boxes, unwrapped it and took the following photo. The shank was indeed snapped at the bowl and the stem was still in the shank!I took the stem off the shank and checked the fit. It was a pretty clean break – just a few small piece of briar chipped and missing. I went through my collection of tubes and found one that was close to the length I needed and was a perfect fit in the airway in the two sections. I roughed up the tubing with a file to give the glue a good surface to bind with. I coated the end of the tube that fit in the shank portion with a two part epoxy and put it in place in the shank. Once the glue had hardened I could adjust the length of the tube however much I needed on a topping board of with the Dremel and sanding drum.Once the glue cured and I had adjusted the length of the tube I spread the epoxy on the tube and on the surfaces of the snapped briar and pressed them together. I used an epoxy that hardened fairly quickly so I adjusted the fit and pressed the two parts together and held them until the glue had hardened. Once the repair had cured I took pictures of the repaired pipe. You can still see the cracked area on the right and underside of the bowl but the fit is quite tight. I needed to do a bit more work on those areas to get a good blend to the repair. I used my Dremel and a steel burr to replicate the rustication pattern around the bowl. I set the Dremel as the lowest speed and worked the burr to connect both vertical and horizontal patterns. It blended well. The first set of 3 photos shows the cut patterns and the second set of 3 shows the finished carving. I used a Black Sharpie and a Red Sharpie pen to stain the freshly carved rustication. The black went into the carving while the red was applied to the high spots. I covered the whole repaired area with some Mahogany stain to blend the colours into the rest of the finish. I gave the repaired area a coat of Danish Oil and Cherry stain to give it a shine that would match the shine on the rest of the bowl. I set it aside to dry.Once the Danish Oil coat had dried I lightly buffed the pipe with microfibre cloth to polish the repaired area. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I am happy with the repair and the finishing on the shank. The repair blends in very well. It is ready to send it back to Al. I will get it packed up and get it in the mail. I hope that he continues to enjoy this beauty. Thanks for following the blog and reading about the repair. Cheers.

Restoring a Patent Era Brigham 1 Dot Dublin Ken Bennett’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

Early in August I received an email from an interesting woman on Vancouver Island regarding some pipes that she had for sale. She was looking to sell the pipes from her late husband Ken and one from her Great Grandfather. Here is her email:

I have 5 John Calich pipes that date from 1979 to 1981. One is graded 11 and the other four are graded 12. I had bought them as Christmas and birthday gifts for my late husband. He was a very light smoker for a 3 year period.

I am a wood sculptor and always admired the grain and shapes of John’s best pipes. John was a friend as well. We exhibited at many exhibitions together for over 25 years.

I am wondering if you can provide any information on how I might be able to sell them.

Thanks you for any help you might be able to provide

I wrote her back and told I was very interested in the pipes that she had for sale and asked her to send me some photos of the lot. She quickly did just that and we struck a deal. I paid her through an e-transfer and the pipes were on their way to me. They arrived quite quickly and when they did I opened the box and found she had added three more pipes – a Brigham, a Dr. Plumb and a WDC Milano.

I finished the restoration of all the pipes in the box of Calich pipes and the BBB Calabash that Pat had sent. She had included a Brigham as noted above. This Brigham Dublin one dot pipe was a classic Brigham shape and rusticated finish. The rim top was dirty and pretty beat up. There were nicks out of the outer edge of the rim around the bowl. The front outer edge was rough from knocking the pipe out again hard surfaces. The rusticated finish was in decent condition. The bowl had a cake in it and there was a lava overflow onto the rim top and darkening the finish. The inner edge of the bowl looked to be in excellent condition under the lava. The stamping on the underside of the shank was very clear and read Shape 107 on the heel of the bowl followed by Can. Pat. 372982 on the smooth panel on the shank. That was followed by Brigham. There is a long tail coming from the “m” curving under the Brigham stamp. The stem was lightly oxidized as was the single metal dot on the side of the taper. There was oxidation and light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem on both sides near the button. The shank and stem were dirty inside. The tenon was the Brigham metal system that held the hard rock maple filter. It did not look like it had ever been changed. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show the damage on the front left outer edge of the bowl, the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim top and inner edge of the rim top. It is quite thick and darkens the natural finish of the rim top. The cake was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. Otherwise it looks pretty good. I also took photos of the stem to show the oxidation on both sides, damage to the button and the light tooth chatter on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the condition of the stamping. You can see the clear stamping reading as noted above.I wrote to Pat and asked her if she would be willing to write short remembrance of her late husband and her Great Grandfather. She wrote that she would be happy to write about them both. Here are Pat’s words:

I’d like you know that Ken was an incredibly talented and creative man with a smile and blue eyes that could light up a room. His laugh was pure magic. He could think outside the box and come up with an elegant solution to any problem…

Pat sent me this reflection on her husband Ken’s life. Thanks Pat for taking time to do this. I find that it gives another dimension to the pipes that I restore to know a bit about the previous pipeman. Pat and Ken were artists (Pat still is a Sculptural Weaver) and it was this that connected them to each other and to John Calich. Here are Pat’s words.

Here is the write up for Ken. We meet in University and it was love at first sight. I consider myself blessed to have shared a life together for 37 years.

Ken graduated from Ryerson University with Bachelor of Applied Arts in Design in 1975.

Ken lived his life with joy.  Each day was a leap of faith in the creative process. His smile would light up the room and the hearts of the people he loved.

He combined the skilled hands of a master craftsman, with the problem solving mind of an engineer, and the heart and soul of an artist. He used his talents to create unique and innovative wood sculptures. Using precious hardwoods, he incorporated the techniques of multiple lamination and three dimensional contouring to create sculptural pieces that captivate the eye and entice the hand to explore.

His career was highlighted by numerous corporate commissions, awards and public recognition in Canada and abroad.

A quote from Frank Lloyd Wright sums up Ken’s approach to design.  “Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be joined as one in a spiritual union.” 

A friendship with John Calich developed over years of exhibiting their work at exhibitions. How could a wood sculptor resist some of John’s finest creations…

I wrote Charles Lemon to get some background information on the pipe. Charles knows Brigham pipes like no one else I know besides he is a great guy. Here is his response

Nice find! The stamps are really nice & clear on that one.

Date-wise, this pipe was made between 1938 and 1955 while the patent for the Brigham System was in force, thus the CAN PAT #. The underlined script logo is another indication of age – that logo was phased out sometime in the early 60s.

Shapes 05, 06 & 07 are classic Straight Dublin shapes from the earliest Brigham lineup, with Shape 05 being the smallest and 07 the largest. There are also Bent Dublin shapes but they are much higher shape numbers and presumably were added to the lineup perhaps decades later.

Hope that helps! Ironically, I was looking at the shape chart just today with an eye to doing an update, so most of this was top of mind! — Charles

I summarize the dating information from Charles now: The pipe is an older one with a Canadian Patent Number. That and the underlined script logo date it between 1938 and 1955. The shape 107 refers to the largest of the classic Straight Dublin pipes in the Brigham line up.

Armed with Pat’s stories of John and her husband Ken and the information from Charles on the background of the pipe it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe reamer using the third cutting head. I took the cake back to bare briar so that I could check out the inside walls. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape back the remaining cake. I finished my cleanup of the walls by sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.       I scraped the rim top lava with the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I was able to remove much of the lava. It also helped me to see the damage to the front edge better. It really was a mess.I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner and rinsed it off with warm running water. I scrubbed the rim top with a tooth brush and warm running water at the same time. I dried the bowl off with a soft microfiber cloth and gave it a light buffing. The photos show the cleaned briar and the damaged areas are very clear.   Once the rim top was clean I could see the extent of the damage to the surface of the rim. The damage was quite extensive and gave the rim the appearance of being out of round. There was also a downward slant to the front edge of the bowl. I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked to flatten out the profile of the rim. I polished the rim surface with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped the top down with alcohol on a cotton pad. I restained it to match the rest of the bowl with three different stain pens – Walnut, Maple and Mahogany. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad. I rubbed the bowl and rim top down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.     I rubbed the bowl and rim down with Conservator’s Wax and buffed the bowl with a shoe brush. I worked on the internals. I scraped the inside of the mortise with a dental spatula to remove the hardened tars and oils that lined the walls of the metal shank. Once I had that done I cleaned out the airway to the bowl, the mortise and the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. When I finished the pipe smelled very clean.Before I cleaned the shank I removed the hard rock maple filter. I took a new filter out of the box and set it aside for use once I finished the clean up.I wiped down the surface of the vulcanite stem with alcohol. I filled in the deep tooth marks with clear super glue.Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to reshape and recut the edge of the button and flatten the repaired area.   I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up).  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.     This is the sixth and final pipe that I am restoring from Ken’s Estate. It is another a classic Brigham Patent era Large Dublin shaped 107. With the completion of this Brigham I am on the homestretch with Ken’s estate. This is the part I look forward to when each pipe comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The classic Brigham rustication and smooth rim top is very nice. The smooth, refinished the rim top, polished and waxed rustication on the bowl look really good with the black vulcanite. This Brigham Patent Era Dublin was a fun and challenging pipe to bring back to life because of the damaged rim top. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This entire estate was interesting to bring back to life.

Refreshing another unsmoked 1910-1915 C.P.F. Chesterfield – a Military Mount Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This afternoon I was going through my boxes of pipes hunting for a specific stem and came across this old, unsmoked C.P.F. Chesterfield Military Mount Billiard. What made it interesting to me was the fact that though it was unsmoked the brass ferrule was oxidized to the point of disintegration. If you have followed my blog for long you know that I love older C.P.F. pipes and I really am a sucker for them as I have a small collection of them. This one rang all the bells for me with the unsmoked bowl, the gold stamp on the shank, even the disintegrating brass band and the P-lip style stem. I am pretty sure from working on other C.P.F. pipes that the pipe was from the time period of the 1910s and before 1920, which also made it attractive to me. When I brought it to my work table this is what I saw (it did not disappoint). It was a bit shop worn from sitting – nicks and grime on the finish. The brass ferrule was loose and in rough condition. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Chesterfield in an arch over the C.P.F. in an oval logo. On the right side of the shank it read French Briar. The stem read Chesterfield over the C.P.F. oval logo on the topside of the taper. On the underside it read Solid Rubber. The bowl was raw briar and totally looked new and unused. You have to admit this is a beauty – I guess that is subjective but it is to me! I took photos of the pipe as it looked on the table. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim top and stem to show the overall condition of the pipe. The bowl was pristine as noted above. The rim top was very clean and undamaged. There were a few small nicks on the inner edge.  The shank ahead of the band was discoloured from the brass ferrule and the ferrule itself had a lot of cracks in surface all around. The stem was in excellent condition – no oxidation. There were a lot of minute scratches in the surface on both sides. The stamping on the stem top and underside was very readable.     The next photos show the stamping on the shank. You can see that they are all quite clear.   I wrote a piece on the background to the C.P.F. brand earlier on the blog and include the link to that here (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/). I quote a pertinent part of the blog below:

From my reading and research it seems to me that C.P.F. brand was discontinued sometime in the 1910-1920 range. Again, turning to Bill Feuerbach I found that he notes the following, which pins down the time frame of the discontinuation of the brand more specifically, “I have a C.P.F. Chesterfield in our office display that has a nametag from way before my time that says 1900 C.P.F. Chesterfield. It looks like most other Chesterfields you’ve seen, including the military type push stem, except this stem is horn and not vulcanite. As far as I have gathered the C.P.F. brand was phased out sometime around 1915.” Interestingly, he noted that the Chesterfield name and style was later introduced in the KB&B, Kaywoodie and Yello-Bole lines. He says that the 1924 KB&B catalog shows KB&B Chesterfields…

… From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the C.P.F. logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB&B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older C.P.F. pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. C.P.F. made beautiful pipes.

From that information I dated this pipe to the peroid metnioned above. I would further refine the 1910s period to a time between 1910-1915. At any rate it is an old pipe to remain unsmoked for this long. How this old timer has been around this long and is still unsmoked is a bit of a mystery to me.

I tried to remove the ferrule and as I touched it the metal disintegrated into a pipe of very fragile pieces of metal. The metal was whitened on the outside and inside. The oxidation had made the metal very brittle.I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the spotty varnish coat and break down the remnants of glue left behind by the crumbled ferrule. I sanded the shank end with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the heavy spots. I polished it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.    I went through my box of bands and ferrules and found a nickel ferrule that was a good fit on the shank end. I put some Weldbond white glue around the shank end and pressed the band onto the shank. I aligned the “hallmarks” with the gold stamping on the left side of the shank.I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar ahead of the ferrule and around the shank and bowl. I let the cleaner sit on the briar for 10-15 minutes and then rinsed it off to remove the cleaner and the grime that it had picked up. I took photos of the pipe after I had dried it off.  I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I love these old C.P.F. pipes. There is some serious thought that they were carved by European trained craftsman who were skilled pipemakers. They were brought to the US by the C.P.F. Company to make pipes. Many of the shapes, bands and stems have the kind of workmanship involved that I really think there is truth to this story. This is little chubby billiard with a classic shape that reminds me of some of the older Peterson’s Sraight billiards that I have restored. The stem is a Peterson style P-lip with the airway on the top of the stem. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrasting grain really began to stand out; it seemed to take on life with the buffing. The rich contrasting brown colour works well with the silver ferrule and the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This one will be joining my collection as it fits in the C.P.F. niche group that I have been building. The shape and feel in the hand is perfect. Now I have to make a hard decision – do I leave it unsmoked or do I load it up with some aged Virginia and break it in. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I restored and reworked this old billiard from 1910-1915. It is always a treat for me to work on a piece of pipe history especially when I have learned a bit of the story behind it.