Tag Archives: cotton ball and alcohol soak

Banding and Restoring a Radford Ravel Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

I am working on the second pipe I chose to work on in the lot of nine pipes I am restoring for the pipe smoker who dropped by a box of pipes that badly needed attention. This one was stamped Radford Ravel and had a mixed finish of smooth top and sandblasted shank and bottom part of the bowl. It is a Rhodesian and the cap is smooth and the rest is sandblast. It was finished in a dark brown stain. The finish was very dirty and there were quite a few sandpits and nicks in the smooth portion of the bowl cap. The shank was crack on the lower right side and extended from the shank end up the shank about a ¼ inch. The stem was a replacement and had a brass washer on the tenon and glued against the shank. When the new stem was made the maker put a space on the tenon to add colour to the stem. I figure that the new stem is what cracked the shank. When I received the pipe the stem did not fit tightly. There were tooth marks, tooth chatter and a lot of oxidation on the stem. There was also a bead of glue around the washer on the tenon.

There was something about the brand on the pipe that rang a bell for me. I have a tin of their Sunday’s Fantasy Tobacco in my cellar and I wondered if they might have made pipes as well.

I did a bit of digging and found the picture on the left that showed some of the tobaccos made by the company and also a great figurine with the name Thomas Radford mild premium pipe tobacco on the base. On Pipedia I found that Radford’s Private Label Pipes were crafted by Chacom for the Pöschl Tabak GmbH & Co. in Germany. This information was from “Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks”, by José Manuel Lopes. The pipes were mass produced with ebonite and acrylic stems and were introduced by Butz-Choquin, Chacom, and Nording. On the stem there is generally an embossed logo that was a stylized R. The pipes were made to use 9mm filters and are moderately priced and very attractive. The following three links were the sources I used for this information.

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Radford%27s

http://www.poeschl-tobacco.com/en/products/

http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-r1.html

I also looked on another website and got a little more information on the brand. The Radford’s pipe appears in 6 models in 3 variations 1x time a year in autumn. The so called Radford’s Depot contains a minimum of 1 dozen pipes of the actual running collection. Connected to the depot is a listing of the depot holder in Radford’s News.

This particular brand RADFORD’S SERIE RAVEL was a series of 6 elegant models within Radford’s Collection. They are made from good briar wood, sandblast, black/brown with a polished head’s border in dark-red shade. Very nice rich-in-contrast ring at the shaft’s finish. Mouthpiece from Acryl for 9 mm filter. http://cigar.supersmokers.biz/radfords/

With all of this information I now knew that the pipe was originally made for a 9mm filter. The mortise was drilled deep in the shank to contain the 9mm filter. The replacement stem was a regular push stem without a filter tenon. I took some photos of the pipe before I started working on it. The finish was in really rough shape. You can see the glue and sticky material on the stem near the shank band. I took a photo of the inside of the shank to show the thick tars that had built up on the walls of the shank. The space in the mortise between the end of the tenon and the extra depth for the end of the original filters was filled with tar and oils. It was thick and sticky.I took a close up photo of the bowl to show the thick cake that lined the walls of the tapered bowl. The photo also shows the damage to the front of the bowl where the pipe had been tapped out against a hard surface. The second photo below shows the crack on the right underside of the shank. It appeared to me from the smooth area and the look of the stain that someone had tried to glue the crack and do a repair but it was not done well.The next two photos show the damage to the stem. The calcium build up on the button end of the stem, the oxidation and glue that is globbed on the stem to hold the washer in place on the tenon and the deep tooth marks on both sides near the button show in the photos.I scrubbed down the surface of the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to remove the damaged finish and the grime and oils in the grooves and crevices of the sandblast. I wanted the surface clean so that I could drill a hole to stop the crack before binding it together with glue and a nickel band on the shank. I drilled two pin holes at the end of the shank with a microdrill bit on a Dremel. The first one was slightly short of the end of the crack so I had to drill a second one.I heated the band to make the fit easier on the shank. I painted the shank end with some slow drying super glue and pressed the band in place against the topping board.I scrubbed the bowl with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove that last of the dust. I took pictures of the bowl with the new bling addition. I reamed the bowl with the PipNet reamer to take back the cake to the bare walls of the bowl. I finished the reaming using a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape the inside of the bowl smooth. I rolled some 180 grit sandpaper around the end of my finger and sanded the walls of the bowl smooth.To remove the damage to the top of the bowl and to clean up the rough front edge of the bowl cap I lightly topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper.With the bowl exterior cleaned and the damaged rim top repaired I worked on the inside of the mortise and the airway from the mortise end into the bowl. I used the drill bit that is in the handle of the KleenReem pipe reamer to ream out the airway into the bowl. I turned the bit into the bowl using the knurled end to press it through. I cleaned off the drill bit and used the dental spatula to scrape the walls of the mortise all the way to the end where the airway entered the bowl. The amount of grit and oils that came out with the scraping was phenomenal.I wiped the bowl cap down with alcohol and filled in the sandpits around the outer walls of the cap with clear super glue.I cleaned out the shank and mortise once again with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until I had removed all of the loose debris left in the shank.I sanded the repaired patches on the cap with 220 grit sandpaper until the repairs were blended into the surface of the briar. I used a black Sharpie Pen to darken the spots and then wiped the bowl and cap down with alcohol to blend in the black. I scraped the area around the washer and the tenon with a sharp knife and funneled the end of the tenon to facilitate better airflow in the stem. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, alcohol and cotton swabs.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the stem surface and wiped the tooth marks down with alcohol. I filled in the tooth marks with black super glue and set the stem aside to let the glue cure.I stuffed a cotton ball into the bowl and rolled a cotton pad into the shank. I set the pipe in an ice cube tray and used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol and let it sit during the day. I left it sitting all day while I worked on the slot in the stem. At the end of the day the cotton had yellowed the cotton and the alcohol had pulled out tar and oil from the bowl walls.I used needle files to open up the slot in the button. I used a flat, flattened oval and regular oval file to open the slot. I folded a piece of sandpaper and sanded out the inside of the newly opened slot. After sanding it the slot was open enough to easily take a pipe cleaner. By this time the alcohol/cotton ball soak in the bowl was finished. I pulled the cotton balls out of the bowl and the pad out of the shank and threw them away. I cleaned out the shank and airway once again with cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. Once it was clean I stained the bowl with dark brown aniline stain cut 50/50 with alcohol. I flamed the stain to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until the coverage was what I was looking for.I rubbed bowl down with olive oil on a cloth and hand buffed the bowl with a rough cotton cloth. I took some photos of the new look of this old Radford Ravel pipe. The bowl is starting to look really good and shows some promise. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches and raise a shine on the vulcanite. I removed the brass washer on the stem and polished it with sandpaper. I reglued it onto the tenon with super glue. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. There were still scratches and also some oxidation. I repeated the sanding with those pads and then moved on to dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down with the oil after each set of three pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of the oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the stem with Red Tripoli to try to remove the remaining oxidation and then buffed the entire pipe and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I polished the metal band with a jeweler’s polishing cloth. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine on the briar. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It has come a long way from the way it looked when I received it to work on. I really like the looks and the shape of the pipe. I have now finished two of pipes that the pipe smoker dropped off for me to restore before he left on holiday. I look forward to seeing what he thinks of his pipes.

New Life for a KBB Yello-Bole Sandblast 2705 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the second pipe that was sent to me by a fellow Canadian for a cleanup and restoration from the lot he had picked up in a local auction for a great price. This one is an older Yello-Bole sandblast billiard with the KBB cloverleaf on the underside of the shank. It has a great looking rugged sandblast on the bowl that highlights the grain. The overall finish appeared to be in good shape though the crevices in the blast were dirty. The bowl had been cleaned before the auction and there was some scratching on the bowl walls. There was still an overflow of tars in the finish that remained on to the rim in the parts that were not damaged. The outer edge of the rim had the look of a pipe that had been smoked hard and knocked out on anything close at hand no matter what it did to the pipe. There were nicks and dings all the way around the rim top and edges. The first five photos that I have included are ones that I received from the pipe’s owner when he emailed and asked me about repairing his find. The first is an overall view of the pipe. yb1The second and third photos are close up shots to clearly show the extent of the damage to the rim top and outer edges. As far as I could see from the photos the inner edge of the rim appeared to be in great shape. The outer edge was another story.yb2The last two photos he sent show the fit of the stem against the shank and the stamping on the underside of the shank. From the first photo it did not appear that the stem was properly seated in the shank. My experience has been that the stems on these older Yello-Bole pipes had an excellent fit but when tars collected around the walls of the shank surrounding the spade stinger the stem would not properly seat. I was hopeful this would be the case with this one. The second photo shows the clear stamping on the underside. It is stamped with the four digit shape number 2705 which is a billiard number and after the 5 is the letter u. The KBB cloverleaf is followed by the classic Yello-Bole stamp and under that it reads Algerian Bruyere.yb3When the pipe arrived I snapped some photos of the condition of the pipe before I started the cleanup. The stem had light oxidation and the yellow O logo was perfect. The inside of the shank was quite dirty so my assumption regarding the reason that the stem did not seat properly was correct. Unfortunately before I took the photos I had done some cleaning on the rim top and edges. I used a sanding block on the edges to knock off loose debris and a dental pick on the rim. I touched up the raw briar with a black Sharpie pen because I have learned that when it is mixed with a dark brown stain I can get a match to the colour of the stain on the bowl. blast1 blast2At this point in the process I used a brass bristle tire brush to scrub out the crevices and sandblast on the top surface. I did this to prepare the rim for restaining, to clean out the blast crevices and to smooth out some of the roughness I have found that this brush does a great job in lifting the dust and tar while not damaging the briar. The brass bristles are soft and do not scratch the briar but make easy work of the tars and build up on the rim of a blast. I scrubbed the inner beveled edge with the brush and it came out looking undamaged. The sandblast reappeared on the rim top as well.blast3I used the black Sharpie pen again to add a dark colour in the chips and nicks in the finish around the edges and the top of the bowl. When that was finished I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain thinned 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol. I fired the stain with a lighter and repeated the process until I was satisfied with the coverage on the bowl. You can see that the nicks along the edges of the rim look very good. The rim top needs to be polished and it will look the same after I have waxed and buffed it.blast4 blast5I probably should have cleaned up the inside of the bowl earlier but as I worked on the rim first it almost escaped my notice. In the last photo above I could see the cake in the bowl and what appeared to be some damage to the inside wall of the left side. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Reaming knife to take the cake out of the bowl. I was able to ream back the walls and the apparent damage disappeared. I used a pen knife to scrape the hard tars that had collected in the shank and mortise. I was amazed at the amount of powder that came out of the shank. It was thick and black and proved my point made earlier about it keeping the stem from seating properly against the shank.blast6I scrubbed the mortise and the airways in the stem and the shank with 99% isopropyl alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until I removed all of the grit and grime from those areas. I cleaned the spade stinger with alcohol and pipe cleaners and polished it with 0000 steel wool until it shone.blast7The pipe smelled of old aromatics and even with the bowl and shank clean the smell was present. I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls and used an eye dropper to fill it with isopropyl alcohol. I have found that cotton balls work as well as Kosher salt does and it is not as messy. I put a cotton swab in the shank up to the entrance of the airway into the bowl as it wicks alcohol into the shank and draws out the oils in that area. I put the pipe bowl upright in an ice-cube tray and let it sit over night to let it do its magic. The second photo shows the cotton balls, discoloured with the oils after sitting 8-9 hours. Once I removed the cotton balls I scrubbed out the shank and airway to remove any remnants of alcohol left behind and set the bowl aside to dry.

I have written about this alternative to the salt and alcohol treatment in an earlier blog that can be read here. https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/10/sweetening-a-pipe-an-alternative-to-the-salt-and-alcohol-treatment/blast8I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the light oxidation and the light tooth chatter at the button. It did not take too much sanding to remove those from the stem.blast9I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. This is my normal routine and if you have been following the blog for any length of time you know that I always follow this procedure with the stems. Between the 4000 grit pad and the 6000 grit pad I buffed the stem with White Diamond and then went on to use the final three grits of micromesh pads. I gave the stem a rubdown with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads and after the last set put it aside to let the oil dry.blast10 blast11 blast12I hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I find that the wax does not clump in the crevices of a sandblast finish like carnauba does so I always hand wax this kind of finish. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and then hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is ready to go back across Canada to its owner. It is a beauty and I think he will enjoy it. Thanks for looking.blast13 blast14 blast15 blast16 blast17 blast18 blast19 blast20

 

My First Solo Pipe Restoration – A Hand Made Preben Holm IIS – PART 1


Blog by John Ferguson

My friend John Ferguson, who I wrote regarding our pipe hunt and his learning to clean up estates, sent me an email a few days ago. In it he included some photos of a pipe that he picked up and was working on currently. He asked about the brand of the pipe so I did a bit of research on the pipe and found out that it was a Preben Holm pipe – the IIS stamping identifies it as such. Later he sent me a piece that he wrote about the find and his restoration work. Here are his words on this first restoration. It is great to have you posting regarding this pipe on rebornpipes John. Keep up the good work.

Ever since my friend, Steve, showed me how to restore my first estate pipe that I found in a batch of pipes at an antique store in Bellingham, WA, I’ve been itching to do some more hunting for pipes that would intrigue me.

I had the opportunity to do so on a recent trip to Texas to visit my family. One beautiful afternoon towards the end of November, my mother and I headed out to some antique stores to spend some time together. And of course, hunt for some pipes.

I found this pipe that intrigued me.
John1

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John3 It was stamped with the words, “Handmade in Denmark” with a “IIS” below it. I did a quick search on my smart phone, but couldn’t find any info quickly. With some help from Steve, we discovered that this was a Preben Holm Pipe.

It was only $10, and since my 19 year old son loves all things Scandinavian, and since it looked like something out of Lord of the Rings (another favourite of his), I decided to get it and restore it, and to give it to him as a Christmas gift this year.

It definitely needed some help. The stem had tooth marks plus calcification.John4

John5 And the bowl had what looked like paint chips embedded in the texture.John6

John7 There was a lot of cake built up on the inside of the bowl, so I took my grandfather’s pocket knife and began to ream it. Gently. I was careful not to damage the bowl.John8

John9 I followed that up with pipe cleaners and alcohol to clean the shank. I used regular pipe cleaners, bristled pipe cleaners, and a pipe cleaning brush and worked until no more gunk came out and the pipe cleaners came out clean.John10 The next step was to clean the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and an old toothbrush. I took several rounds of scrubbing to get most of the ‘paint flecks’ off of it, and what the brush didn’t get the tip of my pocket knife did. I think it turned out beautifully.John11

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John14 Next came the cotton ball soak with alcohol on the inside of the bowl.John15 Then I turned to work on the stem. I began working on smoothing out the bite mark and removing the calcification by using 240 grit paper, followed by 180 grit. Then I began using micromesh pads working from the 1500 pad to the fine 12000 pad. After about an hour of work, I had a brand new looking stem.John16

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John19 Stay tuned for Part 2!