Tag Archives: Dal Stanton article

Recommissioning a Comoy’s Moorgate 102 of Italy


Blog by Dal Stanton

I saw this attractive Comoy’s Moorgate on the eBay auction block last year and fortunately provided enough of a bid to bring it home to Bulgaria.  What attracted me to this Comoy’s was the interesting finish which is a darkened, orange hue with nice feathered grain.  This Comoy’s Moorgate also got Jim’s attention after he saw it posted on my website in the For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! collection I list online for pipe men and women to commission.  I enjoyed communicating with Jim via email very much.  Jim not only commissioned the Comoy’s, but he also commissioned a very interesting, older Stanwell Henley Special which I acquired along with 2 brother Stanwell Henleys – 3 pipes I’ve been looking forward to restoring and learning more about.  Along with these 2 pipes that Jim commissioned, were his encouraging words of appreciation for the work we’re doing with the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Jim was glad that the pipes he was commissioning benefited these efforts.  Thanks, Jim!  Here are a few pictures of the pipes – the Comoy’s and the Stanwell Henley Special – Jim’s is the Saddle Stem Billiard in the middle.  When Jim commissioned these pipes, I’m grateful that he also agreed to be patient as the pipes gradually made it to the top of the queue.  I take some additional pictures to take a closer look at the Comoy’s Moorgate on my worktable here in Sofia, Bulgaria, on the 10th floor of a formerly Communist block apartment building. The nomenclature identifies this Comoy’s as a post-Cadogan era pipe which dates it no older than the early 1980’s when the Cadogan merger took place.  On the left side of the shank is ‘COMOY’S’ [over] ‘MOORGATE’.  The right side of the shank is stamped with the shape number, ‘102’.   The upper side of the stem has the well-known ‘C’ Comoy’s stamp and the underside is stamped, ‘ITALY’. All the stampings point to a post-merger Comoy’s pipe.  The COM being Italy and not ‘Made in London England’ confirms this as Cadogan farmed out the manufacturing.  Interesting also is the shape number, ‘102’.  Pipedia provides a Comoy’s Shape Number Chart that identifies the 102 as being an army mounted, large, straight Pot which does not correspond to the Half Bent Billiard on my table.  The chart most likely pointing to earlier shape numbers.Pipephil.eu provides a Comoy’s Moorgate that matches up with what I’m seeing before me – nomenclature and stampings.  It references a Comoy’s second brand with the name ‘Moorgate’.  I look up the reference and it is a different line altogether – nomenclature and stem stamps and COM as ‘Made in England’.Looking at the condition of the Comoy’s Moorgate on my worktable, it is generally in good condition.  I take a few more pictures to look at some trouble areas.  The chamber has moderate cake build up and some significant lava flow caked on the rim.  The bowl surface has some dents which I’ll try to lift with the hot iron method to preserve the finish.  The stem has moderate oxidation and tooth chatter – no huge problems detected there. To begin, I run a pipe cleaner wetted with alcohol through the draft way and then put the stem in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer along with several other pipes in the queue.  After several hours soaking, I fish out the Comoy’s stem and allow the Deoxidizer fluid to drain off.  I then take a cotton cloth wetted with alcohol and wipe off the raised oxidation. I continue wiping off oxidation and conditioning the stem by wetting the cotton pad with light paraffin oil.  The Deoxidizer seems to have done a good job. Next, I address the chamber cleaning by reaming it with the Pipnet Reaming Kit. To help with the cleanup, I put down some paper towel to catch the dislodged carbon.  Beginning with the smallest of four blade heads, I ream the chamber. I only use 2 of the 4 blades available.  I follow this by using the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Tool to fine tune the reaming.  I also use the Fitsall Tool to scrape gently an internal rim bevel that emerges from underneath the carbon cake.  I also use my thumbnail to scratch the carbon off the rim.  Following this, I wrap a piece of 240 grit paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber.  Finally, to remove the carbon dust, I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  With the chamber cleaned, I inspect the chamber walls and I find no issues with heat fissures or cracking. Turning now to the external briar surface, I use undiluted Murphy’s Soap on a cotton pad and clean.  I take my time on the rim to remove the lava.  After cleaning the surface, I use cool tap water to rinse the bowl.Turning now to the internals of the bowl, I use cotton buds and pipe cleaners with alcohol to clean. I also use a dental spatula to scrape the mortise walls more quickly removing the built-up tars and oils.  In time the buds and pipe cleaners start coming out cleaner.  Good for now.  I move on!To achieve a deeper cleaning and refreshing of the internals, I use a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  Using a cotton ball to create a wick, I stretch and twist it and then insert it through the mortise and into the airway.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt and place it in an egg carton to provide stability.  With a large eye dropper, I then fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  I top the alcohol in a few minutes after it’s absorbed into the salt.  I put the stummel aside for several hours to soak.  After some time, the salt and the wick were soiled.  I tossed the expended salt, wipe the bowl with paper towel, and blow through the mortise to remove salt crystals.  To make sure all was clean, I use a cotton bud and pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% and they are clean.Putting the cleaned bowl aside, I take the flat needle file and work on the button.  I file the button lips, upper and lower to redefine them.  To erase the scratches of the file, I follow by sanding the bit area, upper and lower with 240 grade sanding paper.  I also sand the entire stem to remove further residual oxidation.  I’m careful to avoid the stem stampings while sanding.  To remove the scratches left by the 240 grade paper, I wet sand using 600 grade paper followed by applying 0000 steel wool buffing to the entire stem.In order to further enrich the vulcanite, I use Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Polish in that order.  I put some Fine polish on my fingers and work the polish in.  After some minutes, I wipe it off.  I follow with the same process with the Extra Fine Polish, giving it some minutes and wiping it off and buffing up the stem.  The stem is cleaning up very nicely.Turning again to the stummel, there are 2 significant dents that I want to see if I can minimize using the heating method with an iron.  I take pictures of the two places I have in mind.  I heat the iron and dampen a cotton handkerchief with water.  I place the cloth over the dent and press the hot iron against the cloth over the dent in the briar.  The heat and moisture are supposed to expand the dent and in this case it does. Interestingly, taking a picture of the two dents afterwards, what emerged is a roughness caused by the heat. Hmmm, not sure why that happened.  The pictures show what I see before and after heating. To remove the roughness caused by the heating and to remove the normal wear nicks, I wet sand the stummel using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400.  I then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain on this Comoy’s Moorgate is unique as it emerges through the micromesh process.  It looks great! To enrich the natural grain of the bowl, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm.  I apply some Balm on my fingers and work it into the briar surface.  The Balm starts with a thinner oil-like viscosity then gradually thickens to a waxy consistency.  After I apply the Balm thoroughly, I let the bowl stand for several minutes while the Balm absorbs.  I then wipe off the Balm using a microfiber cloth and gradually, as the Balm is removed, I transition to buffing with the cloth. I take a picture while the Balm is doing its thing and after. I’m liking it a lot!Returning to the stem, I now continue with the micromesh sanding phase.  I begin by wet sanding using pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 micromesh pads, I apply Obsidian Oil to continue revitalizing the vulcanite.  The rubber has that glossy pop!  I put the stem aside to dry. Next, I want to refresh the stem stamping, ‘ITALY’.  To do this I place a drop of white acrylic paint over the lettering.  I then use a cotton pad to blotter the excess paint, thinning it so that it dries rapidly. With the flat edge of a toothpick, I then gently scrape the excess paint off the stem.  The pictures show the progress. I now reunite the stem and the bowl and mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about 40% full power and apply Blue Diamond compound to the entire pipe.  Afterwards, I wipe/buff the pipe with a felt cloth to clear it of leftover compound dust.  While I was buffing with the felt cloth, I note that the stem fitting is a little loose for my liking.  This sometimes happens after cleaning the pipe well and scraping the mortise.  To remedy this, I fit a drill bit just larger than the airway diameter and heat the tenon with a Bic lighter.  As the vulcanite tenon heats, it becomes supple allowing me to insert the bit into the airway and it expands the tenon slightly.  I test the fit and it works perfectly, and I am satisfied.  After rejoining stem and stummel, I then mount another cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel, maintaining 40% speed and apply several coats of carnauba wax.  I finish the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further.I’m pleased with the results of this Comoy’s Moorgate.  The briar is spectacular with its diversion of colors and swirls of grain.  Patches of orange settle in the grain knots and from there the colors are an eye catching kaleidoscopes. It is a unique piece of briar and the half-bent Billiard nicely rests in the palm.  Jim commissioned this Comoy’s from the For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! collection and he will have the first opportunity to acquire it from The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

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Refreshing a Jarl 1545 Made in Denmark Dublin


Blog by Dal Stanton

I acquired two Jarl of Denmark pipes in the Lot of 66 pipes I landed on the eBay auction block a couple of years ago.  When I first saw them, I liked the style of the blending of the blasting or is it rustification? – and the twin smooth panels on the sides of the bowl.  Both are marked on the underside of the smoothed shank portion.  The Billiard is marked ‘Jarl Chieftain’ 1511 with a ‘J’ stem mark and the Dublin is marked simply, ‘Jarl’ 1545.  Under each Jarl designation is the COM, Made in Denmark.  I will be adding nothing new to the scant information available on the internet for the Jarl name.  Pipedia’s only entry is brief:

In December of 2010 Ellen Jarl wrote that Jarl pipes were made by her grandfather, Niels Mogens Jørgensen in a little factory in the town of Bramdrupdam, just outside Kolding, Denmark. We have no reason to doubt that Niels Mogens Jørgensen is the maker of these pipes.

Cyrus, a friend who formerly was a Peace Corp worker here in Bulgaria, saw the Jarl Dublin in the For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! section on ThePipeSteward website and commissioned him.  After doing research on these Jarls, I’m wondering if I might not regret pulling the Jarl Chieftain out of the Pipe Dreamers offerings to keep for myself!!  Here are the two Jarls in the Pipe Steward collection and more pictures showing the Jarl Dublin as Cyrus saw in Pipe Dreamers.I read through several blog threads containing anecdotal information about Jarl pipes and discovered a universal appreciation and love for this Danish line.  More than once, regret was expressed in not buying the Jarl one saw several years ago.  I enjoyed by far, a Jarl thread on Pipesmagazine.com by donjgiles, who had taken to collecting Jarls and had several pictures showing the collection.  The blending of rough/smooth briar seems to be a trademark of the Jarl motif.  If indeed, Niels Mogens Jorgensen made these pipes in a smaller operation, and he no longer does, the Jarl name will only become more difficult to find as it becomes more collectable.  Following are a few samples of the collection of Jarl pipes from Pipesmagazine.com: It is an interesting question.  Is the surface blasted or a result of rustification?  When talking to Steve Laug of rebornpipes, Steve described how it may be both.  ‘Blastification’ is a technique that may have been used that combined both blasting and rustification.  The Jarl surfaces shows both characteristics – but done so well that it looks natural.  Steve also mentioned that with Jarl pipes a special process was developed called ‘Oil Hardened’ that removed the sap and impurities from the briar that made the briar lighter and more resilient.  Some Jarl pipes are marked ‘Oil Hardened’ but Steve thought that all Jarl pipes were treated in this way.

Looking at the Jarl Dublin now on my table, I don’t see any major issues and I’m hoping this Jarl cleans up quickly.  The chamber has cake that needs clearing and the ‘blastified’ stummel needs a good cleaning.  The smooth panels on both sides of the stummel have minor nicks and the entire stummel seems dull and dark.  The stem shows some tooth chatter on the upper and lower bit.  I begin the clean up by running a pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95% through the stem and the adding the stem to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer with other pipes in the queue.  After several hours, I fish out the stem and let the Deoxidizer drain off the stem.  I run another pipe cleaner through the stem to clear the Deoxidizer.  I then wipe off the raised oxidation using a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  I follow by additionally wiping with a cotton pad wetted with light paraffin oil.  The Deoxidizer did a good job.  The pictures show the progress. Putting the stem aside, I next address the carbon cake in the chamber by reaming with the Pipnet Reaming kit.  To save on cleanup, I put paper towel on the work table. I use two of the four blade heads available starting with the smaller and working my way to the next larger.  I follow the reaming blades by scraping the chamber wall with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe tool.  Finally, I wrap 240 grade paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber and finish the chamber cleaning by wiping it with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  After an inspection of the chamber, the wall shows no problems with heat fissures or cracks.  The pictures show the progress. To clean the external briar surface, I use undiluted Murphy’s Soap and cotton pads and a bristled tooth brush.  I scrub the blasted rustification to clean all the nooks and crannies.  Using a brass wire brush, I work on the rim as well, which is a little darkened from oils.Turning to the internals, I use pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95%.  I also use a long shank brush to work on the mortise and airway as well.  Using a dental spatula, I also excavate tars and oils by scraping the mortise.  The cleaning is looking good.  Later I’ll continue the internal cleaning process with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.The stem has light chatter on the upper- and lower-bit area and some small bite compressions.  First, to lessen the chatter and dents, I use heat to expand the vulcanite.  Using a Bic lighter, I paint the vulcanite surfaces and the heating causes expansion, encouraging the rubber to find its original state.  The pictures are upper, before and after heating and lower, before and after, to show the changes through this method.  I follow by sanding with 240 grade paper and refreshing the button using a flat needle file.  The pictures show the process.

Upper, before and after and 240 grade paper: Lower, before and after, and 240 grade: I continue working on the stem by wet sanding with 600 grade paper followed by using 0000 grade steel wool over the entire stem. I put the stem aside and look at the stummel.  It’s difficult for me to tell if the rustified/blasted part of the stummel is simply in need of conditioning and wax or if it needs a fresh finish.  To sneak a preview of what the finish might look like pretty much as is, I wipe some light paraffin oil over the stummel.  I take a before (first 2 pics) and after (second 2 pics) the oil picture for comparison.  The rim briar (not showing in the pictures) is on the thin side, but overall the ‘blastified’ briar looks good.  The smooth briar panels on both sides have scratches from normal usage.  After looking at the ‘sneak peek’ using the light paraffin oil, the plan is formulated.  I’ll touch up the rim with a dye stick to darken the thin, bald patches.  I’ll sand the smooth panels to clear the scratching and to create more of a comparative ‘pop’ between the smooth and rough briar. Using a Mahogany dye stick, I color the rim and edge.  I then feather wipe it with a cotton pad wetted slightly with alcohol to blend the dye giving it more texture. Now, using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand both side panels.  I then follow by dry sanding the side panel with the remainder of the micromesh pads 3200 to 12000.  I also lightly sand the underside nomenclature panel and the ring at the end of the shank – only with the latter pads.  I do not want to cause further deterioration of the nomenclature.  I love the smooth briar panel pop!  The first two pictures show the starting point and then following the micromesh application. At this point I put the brakes on a bit with the stummel.  I continue the internal cleaning using kosher salt and alcohol.  I first create a wick by stretching and twisting a cotton ball and inserting it in the mortise and airway.  The wick acts to draw the tars and oils out of the mortise as the alcohol soaks.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt and place it in an egg carton to keep it stable during the soak.  I then fill the chamber with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes I top off the alcohol again.  I put the stummel aside and let it soak for several hours. With the stummel on the sidelines for the time, I turn again to the stem.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand the stem.  Falling this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to enrich and revitalize the vulcanite stem.  It’s looking great. The kosher salt/alcohol soak is next to address.  The salt has darkened, and the wick is very soiled demonstrating that the cleaning process had happened.  I clear the expended salt in the waste and wipe the chamber with paper towel to remove the left-over salt.  I also use a bristled shank brush in the chamber and a narrower one through the mortise to remove old salt.  I blow through the mortise as well.  To make sure all is clean, I run a pipe cleaner through the airway and a cotton bud in the mortise – both dipped in isopropyl 95%.  Each came out clean.  I like this final internal cleaning process to fully freshen the internals for the new steward. With the stummel cleaned and a stem waiting in the wings, I continue working on the external surface of the stummel.  I thought about how to approach the stummel earlier and decided that the blastification of the Jarl was in good shape but needed some conditioning.  After sanding the smooth briar panels, I treat the entire surface by applying Before & After Restoration Balm. I’m have been looking forward to using it and seeing how it turns out.  I take a picture of the stummel before starting for comparison.  I place some of the Balm on my fingers and work the Balm into the briar surface.  I’m careful to work the Balm well into the rough landscape of the blasting/rustification.  After working it in well, I wait for a few minutes for the Balm to absorb and do its thing.  I take another picture at this stage.  Then, taking a microfiber cloth, I wipe off the excess Balm and eventually begin to buff up the surface with the cloth.  I like what I see!  The Balm provides a deep, rich rendition of the natural color already there.  The pictures show the progress. Next, I reunite the stem with the stummel and mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel and set the speed at 40% full power. I then apply Blue Diamond compound to the entire pipe.  I work the cotton cloth wheel well into the blasted/rustified surface as I rotate the wheel methodically over the surface. I make sure I’m applying the compound into all the nooks and crannies.  After finishing with the compound, I rigorously buff the surface with a felt cloth primarily to remove the compound dust from the stummel in preparation for the waxing phase. After mounting the Dremel with another cotton cloth wheel, increasing the speed slightly to about 45 to 50% of full power, I apply carnauba wax to both the stem and the stummel.  I apply a few coats of carnauba then I follow by going over the entire surface again with a clean cotton cloth wheel.  I do this to be sure that the wax is spreading uniformly through the rustification and not gunked up in the nooks and crannies.  Finally, I finish the restoration by giving the Jarl Dublin a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth.  This not only raises the shine beautifully but gives one more pass over the surface to make sure of an even wax coverage.

This pipe is beautiful and gives credence to the Jarl lovers I read in the threads.  The tapestry of briar texture and presentation draws the gaze to look more closely the grain of smooth briar contrasted with the brown, reddish blastification.  The classic Dublin shape simply adds attitude to the overall look.  I like this pipe a lot and I’m sure Cyrus will too.  Since he first commissioned the Danish Jarl 1545 Dublin from the For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! collection, he will have the first opportunity to acquire the Jarl in The Pipe Steward Store.  The best part is that this pipe also benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria, our effort here in Bulgaria to help women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Salvaging a ‘Really’ Poor Richard’s of Italy Giant Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

Let’s be honest. When I saw this Poor Richard’s on the eBay auction block I thought the name was a joke by the seller.  He WAS huge (L: 6 3/4”, H: 2 1/8”, Rim W: 1 1/2″, Chamber W: 7/8”, Chamber D: 1 7/8”, Weight: 74gr), no doubt, but his condition could qualify him for the title: King of the Basket Pipe Realm.  His condition was indeed poor and adding to the ‘joke’ was that he was displayed on satiny royal purple material.  But the clincher was coming. Adding insult to injury, the seller’s byline description under Poor Richard’s picture was: Poor Richard’s Classic Bulldog Large Estate Pipe Beautiful !!!  Nice  !!!  Bulldog?  I felt sorry for him.  I placed a bid and when the auction ended, it was no surprise that mine was the only bid seeking a new life for Poor Richard’s.  My wife’s response when she first saw Poor Richard’s was that Poor Richard’s dog got a hold of him!  Here are the pictures I saw. After bringing Poor Richard’s back to Bulgaria, I put him on my website in the For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! section where my friend and fellow Pipe Dreamer from India, Paresh, saw him.  Poor Richard’s became the fourth pipe Paresh commissioned – all of them on the larger side and each one of them advancing our work here in Bulgaria benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria, helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.

Taking more pictures on my worktable on the 10th floor of a formerly Communist ‘Block’ apartment building, the nomenclature on the left shank is ‘PoorRichard’s’ in what I call an ‘Old World’ script.  There are no other markings on the shank.  The stem is stamped with an interlocking ‘PR’.  The bottom of the stem is stamped with the COM, Italy.When I began doing the research on this Poor Richard’s, I recalled that rebornpipes’ contributor, Al Jones (aka: Upshallfan), had recently posted a restoration of a Poor Richards 9438 Cordovan Rhodesian shape.  Reading Al’s write-up was helpful because it clued me into the ‘mystery’ surrounding the origins of the Poor Richard’s name.  I noticed that our pipes shared the ‘Old World’ script nomenclature as well as the interlocking ‘PR’ stem stamp.  The obvious difference was the COMs – his, London, England and mine, Italy and his included a shape number, and mine, without.As I’ve done in the past with much benefit, I wrote to Al asking about the differences between our Poor Richard’s and what to make of the differing COMs?  His response was helpful:

Dal

Unfortunately, there is nothing but speculation about these Poor Richard pipes.  The one shop here, with that name, can’t even conclusively determine if they had shop pipes.

I suspect it was a shop pipe, made by various makers for this shop.  But a shop in Montana having shop pipes doesn’t exactly make sense either.  Usually shops with their own pipes were larger, and in metro areas, not out in the wilderness of Montana.

Poor Richard pipes are not listed in “Who Made That PIpe”, so my guess is still a shop pipe.  Perhaps that Montana shop was bigger than I presumed. 

I suspect Italian companies, like GBD made shop pipes as well.  Perhaps that one was made by Savinelli or other?  Without a shape number, it’s impossible to determine.

Have fun restoring it!

Al

Al referenced the pipe shop in Montana that in a subsequent email he referenced that Steve had also worked on a Poor Richard’s attributed to the ‘Poor Richard’s’ pipe and tobacco shop in Bozeman, Montana. However, Al said that Steve’s Poor Richard’s pipe had a totally different nomenclature with Montana stamped on the pipe.  I found this write up on Rebornpipes and what a write up!  It was one of Steve’s and Charles Lemon’s classic collaborations including a pinning tutorial.  When these two masters get together, its fun to see the wonders happen!  (See this post which is worth the read:  A Humpty Dumpty Cross Canada Project – Could this Poor Richards Select Square Shank Billiard 9489 ever be whole again?)  Steve’s research on the Montana shop is good and saved me time and steps.  Since Steve’s write up in 2016, the website had changed and a description of Poor Richard’s history beginning in 1962 can be found here: History.  The following pictures show the shop early on and what it is today.Even with the mystery and the discrepancies with the nomenclatures, in researching different pipe shop pipes in the past (L. J. Peretti, Pipe Pub), I found that it’s common to have pipes manufactured in various places.  Another indicator that the Poor Richard’s nomenclature refers to a shop is simply because it is possessive – Richard’s, pointing to something else.  Whether there’s another Poor Richard’s shop other than the one in Bozeman, I don’t know.  This question has been lost to history.

The condition of the giant Poor Richard’s before me now is poor. I take more pictures to take a closer look. The chamber has moderate cake build up that needs to be removed to inspect the condition of the chamber.  The lava flow on the rim is thick.  The stummel surface reminds one of a moonscape with all the craters in need of attention!  Along with the pits and holes there are dents and scrapes.  The oxidation on the stem is joined by bites and compressions on the lower and upper bit.  With a better understanding of the Poor Richard’s name, I begin the salvage of the giant Billiard by running pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% through the stem and then adding it to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with several other commissioned pipes in the queue.  The Poor Richard’s stummel and stem are first on the left.  After letting it soak overnight, I fish out the Poor Richard’s stem and let the fluid drain off.  I then push a pipe cleaner through it to help remove the Deoxidizer.  I then wipe the stem with cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the raised oxidation from the vulcanite stem.  After wiping off with the alcohol, I then wipe again using a cotton pad and light paraffin oil (mineral oil) to clean and condition the stem further.  Finally, I run another pipe cleaner through the stem dipped in isopropyl 95%.  The pictures show the process. Taking the stummel, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to clean the chamber.  After putting paper towel down on the table for easier clean up, I start reaming using the third largest blade head since the chamber is so large.  I also use the fourth and largest blade to ream.  Following the reaming, I use the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Tool to scrape the chamber walls removing additional carbon cake – especially down in the floor of the chamber with the difficult angles.  Then, after wrapping 240 grit paper around a Sharpie Pen, I sand the chamber walls removing additional carbon and smoothing the chamber surface.  I clean the chamber next using a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  While inspecting the chamber, I do see some hairline heat cracks that are very small, but not serious enough to warrant repair.  Next, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap I work on the external briar surface using a cotton pad.  I also use a brass wire brush on the rim to remove the lava and follow by carefully scraping the rim surface with a flat knife edge.  After scrubbing, I rinse the stummel in the sink with cool tap water.Turning to the internals, I use pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% to clean the mortise and airway. I also use a small dental spatula tool to scrape tars and oils off the mortise walls.  The cleaning wasn’t too bad. Later, I’ll continue cleaning the internals with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.With the internals cleaned, I now look at the stummel surface.  I have several fills to dig out and to fill.  My main tool in doing this is a sharp dental probe.  The goal is to only have a solid base in the holes – either old filler material or briar.  It takes quite a bit of time, but I move from fill to fill doing the needed excavation work. With the holes excavated, I prepare a batch of briar dust and CA glue patch to apply to the problem areas.  I scoop briar dust in a small mound on an index card and put a glob of thick CA glue next to the briar dust.  Using a dental spatula, I mix briar dust into the CA glue until I reach a thicker consistency, like molasses.  I then trowel the patch mixture into each of the holes leaving excess to be sanded down after cured.  The pictures show the process. With the Briar Dust patches curing, I turn to the stem.  After the soak in the Before & After Deoxidizer, much of the oxidation was removed.  But looking more closely, there remains oxidation but it’s much subdued. I decide to place the stem in another soak – this time with OxiClean.  I put a pipe cleaner through the stem and put it in the OxiClean to let it soak overnight.With the day ending, I continue the cleaning and refreshing of the stummel internals.  To do this I employ a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  First, I form a wick by stretching and twisting a cotton ball and with a stiff piece of wire, I stuff it down the mortise and airway.  It will serve to draw out tars and oils.  Then I fill the bowl with kosher salt and place the stummel in an egg crate to keep it stable.  With a large eyedropper, I fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, I top off the alcohol as it is absorbed and turn out the lights.The next morning, there isn’t too much discoloration of the salt which means I didn’t put in enough alcohol or that the internals are clean.  The wick is darker.  I toss the expended salt into the waste, wipe the bowl with paper towel and blow through the mortise to remove remaining salt crystal.  I then use a shank brush on both the bowl and the mortise – blowing again.  Finally, to make sure all is clean and ready to go, I wet a cotton bud and pipe cleaner with isopropyl 95% and run them through the mortise and airway.  They come out clean and it’s time to move on. I put the stem in an OxiClean soak through the night and it’s time to fish it out.  I take a picture of the additional oxidation that has been raised and I take the stem to the sink and wet sand the stem with 600 grade paper to remove the oxidation.  It looks cleaner now after sanding.Looking more closely now at the bit area, there are good sized compressions.  The button also has some bite marks.  The first step is to use the heating method to see if it will expand the vulcanite reducing the severity of the compressions.  I use a Bic lighter and paint the upper- and lower-bit areas. The areas were lessoned, but not erased by heating the vulcanite. I then use 240 grade paper and sand the upper- and lower-bit areas as well as redefine the button with a flat needle file.  I take pictures of each step. First, the upper bit progress:After heating:After 240 sanding and filing:Progression of the lower bit area:After heating:After 240 sanding and filing: I’ve sanded out as much as will sand and now I will patch the areas that did not sand out.  I first wipe the stem with alcohol to clean the area.  I then apply black CA glue to the areas.  And I wait, and wait, and wait….  Well, I just discovered that Black CA glue can go flat and lose its ability to bond.  Reading the directions, is says to refrigerate to prolong shelf life.  Well, the shelf life must have been reached.  I wipe the old CA glue off and thankfully, I had purchased another bottle of Hyper Bond Black Rubber Reinforced CA glue.  I discover that the bottle mouth is larger than the squirt spouts that I have so I end up troweling a small bit of the glue on the end of a pointed dental spatula and apply it to the spot.  It works!  To advance the curing time I spray the upper and lower patches with an accelerator which does the trick.  The first picture, upper that didn’t cure and the new glue on the lower.  New bottle of glue is heading for the fridge! Next, taking a flat needle file I start filing the black CA patches staying on top of the glue mounds.  I then follow by using 240 grade sanding paper to bring the excess CA glue to flush with the vulcanite surface.  First, pictures showing the upper bit: The next step with the stem is to wet sand it with 600 grade paper then I follow by buffing the stem with 0000 steel wool to prepare the vulcanite surface for the micromesh pad phase of sanding.  The patches on the bit blended very nicely.I put the stem aside because I’m anxious to get started on the Poor Richard’s stummel.  I decide to start from the top and work down.  I will establish fresh lines for the rim and remove the surface scratches by topping the stummel.  I first use 240 grade paper on the chopping board and invert the stummel and rotate the stummel over the paper. After the 240 paper, I use 600 grade paper for another few rotations.  It looks good. To dress this Poor Richard’s up a bit, I create an internal bevel.  To me, an internal bevel softens the rim lines and is a classy touch.  I cut the bevel initially using a rolled piece of coarse 120 grade paper then follow with 240 and 600.  I simply pinch the rolls of sand paper under my thumb and rotate around the internal circumference of the rim.  I like it. Now, time to work on filing and sanding all the briar dust putty patches all over the stummel surface.  I use the flat needle file to work the mounds down to near the briar surface then I finish off with 240 grit paper, bringing the patch flush with the surface.  The pictures show the process.  Lots of filing and sanding! With the patches all repaired, I use sanding sponges to sand the entire stummel to remove additional nicks and scratches and to blend the patch areas.  I start with a coarse sponge, follow with a medium then light sponges. I like the way sponge sanding cleans up a rough bowl.Moving on to the micromesh stage, I wet sand the stummel with pads 1500 to 2400 then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I love the way the micromesh process teases out the briar grain. This Poor Richard’s is looking good! To mask the plethora of fills scattered on this Italian Poor Richard’s stummel, I will give him a dark stain.  I use Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye to do the job.  With it being an aniline based dye, later I can wipe the bowl with alcohol to blend and lighten as I choose.  I assemble the components used in applying dye on my worktable.  I mount a cork in the mortise to act as a handle and I pour the dye into a shot glass.  I use a folded pipe cleaner to apply the dye and a lit candle to flame the aniline dye.  I begin by wiping the stummel with alcohol to clean the surface.  I then warm the stummel using a hot air grain. This expands the briar grain aiding in it being more receptive to the dye.  Using the pipe cleaner, I then apply dye liberally to the entire stummel making sure to cover the rim well.  I then ‘flame’ the stummel with the lit candle and the alcohol immediately combusts leaving the pigment sealed in the grain.  After letting the stummel ‘rest’ a few minutes, I repeat the process of applying dye and flaming.  I then put the stummel aside to rest for several hours helping to assure that the dye is set and will not rub off later on hands when the pipe is put back into service.  The pictures show the process. With the flamed stummel resting, I turn again to the stem.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand the stummel.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 1200.  After each set of three micromesh pads, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to the stem to revitalize the vulcanite.  The stem is looking good. The stained stummel has rested for about 24 hours and it’s time to unwrap the flame crust. After mounting a 1 inch felt buffing wheel on the Dremel, I set the speed to the lowest RPM and apply the more abrasive compound, Tripoli, to remove the crust revealing the newly stained briar surface.  As I have refined my technique using the Dremel during the compound phases, I’ve learned that using a felt buffing wheel and Tripoli allows me to have more control over the degree of opaqueness allowed through the stain, especially when using darker stains like with this Poor Richard’s.  When I begin removing the crust with the felt wheel and the coarser Tripoli compound, the initial pass of the buffing process removes the top crusty layer, but thick, ‘blotched’ stain remains.  These blotches, or darker patches of stain hide the grain underneath.  After this first pass, my practice is to purge the wheel quickly on the side of the chopping board that is on my lap, providing the work platform for all the buffing.  After I purge the wheel of the thick stain residue from the flaming, I load more Tripoli to the felt wheel and then begin additional passes over the same area – frequently purging and reloading the felt wheel with Tripoli.  Through this process I can determine how the grain is presented.  More Tripoli buffing, the lighter hues are raised in the grain, giving more definition.  When I’m working an area where a patch is located, I tend to allow it to remain darker to enhance the masking.  After staining, I would say that this phase applying the Tripoli is the most critical for the finished look of the grain.  Why?  The coarse Tripoli combined with the coarser felt wheel does the heavy lifting by increasing the opaqueness of the stain when desired which sets the stage for the finished look.  The following less coarse compounds, such as Blue Diamond, and using the cotton wheel, provides more buffing of what is there rather than remove it.  The pictures below give a hint of what I’m describing.  For those who use a Dremel, I hope this is helpful. To blend the stained finish, I lightly wipe the stummel with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  I don’t need to lighten the stummel, only blend.After wiping down the stummel with the cotton pad, the Tripoli with felt wheel had lightened more than I wanted in order to provide a darker shading to blend and to mask the fills.  I decide to stain the stummel again, but the second time around, I use a cotton cloth buffing wheel and Tripoli instead of the more aggressive felt wheel.  Saving on pictures repeating the same process, here is the stummel after the second staining and flaming.  Again, I wait several hours allowing the stain to rest.Following the Tripoli compound, I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel in the Dremel, increase the speed to about 40% full power, and apply Blue Diamond compound to both the stem and stummel which I reunite.  After completing the application of Blue Diamond, I wipe/buff the pipe with a felt cloth to remove the residual compound dust in preparation for the wax application.Before applying wax, I refresh the Poor Richard’s stem stamping, the interlocking ‘PR’ and the country of manufacturing stamp, ‘Italy’.  Using white acrylic paint, I use a pointed cotton tip to apply paint to the stamps.  While still wet I lightly wipe the excess paint off leaving the stamps filled.  It works well, and the Poor Richard’s is shaping up well! To finish the buffing stage, I mount another cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel, leaving the speed at 40%, and I apply carnauba wax to stem and stummel.  I follow by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth.

I’m pleased with the transformation of the Poor Richard’s.  The dark brown dye helped to mask the repairs done to the stummel and it looks great.  This straight Billiard is a classic shape and as large as this Poor Richard’s is, I believe it will serve its new steward well.  Paresh commissioned him from the For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! section on The Pipe Steward site.  He will have first opportunity to acquire the Poor Richard’s from the The Pipe Steward Store which benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Recommissioning a Hefty Ben Wade Bent Billiard Made in London England


Blog by Dal Stanton

I saw this large Ben Wade Bent Billiard on the eBay auction block a few years ago and secured it with the winning bid.  This was the first time I had acquired a Ben Wade, so my initial thought was to add it to my own collection.  I noticed that Ben Wade stamped pipes usually attracted more than usual bidding attention and so I was looking forward to restoring it and learning more about the name.  In the end, I put him in the For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! section on the Pipe Steward site and this is where Paresh saw it and commissioned it to add to his collection and this benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria.  The Ben Wade, without question, fits the profile of being a ‘hefty’ pipe fitting well in the hand.  Here are some of the pictures that got Paresh’s attention: I take some additional pictures on my work table in Sofia, Bulgaria, looking at the stamping.  On the left shank is ‘Ben Wade’ in cursive script over MADE IN [over] LONDON ENGLAND.  The right shank side has 79 stamped – I’m assuming a shape number. The stem also has a BEN WADE stamp. Pipedia’s article on Ben Wade is interesting and very helpful in explaining the history.  The ‘Family Era” (1860 to 1962) is described as the ‘hay day’ of the British pipe maker:

The company was founded by Benjamin Wade in 1860 in Leeds, Yorkshire, where it was located for over a century. Ben Wade started as a pipe trader, but yet in the 1860’s he established a workshop to produce briar pipes. The pipes were made in very many standard shapes – always extensively classic and “very British”. Many models tended to be of smaller dimensions. Ben Wade offered a very high standard of craftsmanship and quality without any fills. Thus, the pipes were considered to be high grade and a major competitor to other famous English brands.

Along with most pipe manufacturers, the Second World War was a difficult time for Ben Wade.  German air raids destroyed the factory in Leeds, but the Ben Wade Co., quickly rebuilt after the war.  The Pipedia article gives several examples of the Ben Wade based in Leeds nomenclature during the Family Era (courtesy of Doug Valitchka):The ’Family Era’ ended when the business was sold in 1962:

…the owner family decided to leave pipe business and sell off the firm. The family went into negotiations with Herman G. Lane, president of Lane Ltd. in New York at about the same time as the Charatan family. Lane Ltd. bought both firms in 1962. Herman G. Lane had been Charatan’s US sole distributor since 1955 and Charatan always remained his pet child. But Ben Wade was treated in another way by its new owner. The fabrication of pipes was reduced and the factory in Leeds was closed in 1965 finally.  So this was the end of Ben Wade pipes stamped “Made in Leeds, England”.

The ‘Lane Era’ is described as a time when the historic quality of Ben Wade declined to a ‘second’ with reference to the production of standard shapes:

Alas the “new” Ben Wades were quite usual series pipes, copies of well-known standard shapes. The pipes often showed hardly masqued fillings and were processed quite coarsely with hardly polished pre-moulded Ebonite stems. Therewith Ben Wade degenerated definitively to a second brand.

According to the Pipedia article, after the death of Herman G. Lane, the business was sold to Dunhill Pipes Limited in 1978 and the new owner had no need to produce ‘seconds’ coming from the acquisition.  The Ben Wade Bent Billiard on my work table comes from the ‘Lane Era’ produced between 1965 and 1978 matching the nomenclature during this period.  “Made in London England” or just “London” replaced “Leeds” with the characteristic cursive script and ‘Ben Wade’ stem stamp (again courtesy of Doug Valitchka):I had one other question regarding the name ‘Ben Wade’ – the Danish connection? In 1971, the young, Danish pipe maker, Preben Holm, came to Lane with financial difficulties and in need of a new US distributer of his pipes made in Denmark.   The new partnership put the Ben Wade name on the Freehand production coming from the Danish factory into the burgeoning US ‘Freehand’ market with a commitment to quality rather than quantity.  The market grew through the 70s until 1985, when the market for these pipes fell resulting in the downsizing of the factory in 1986 but the production of Danish Ben Wade pipes came to an end in 1989 after the death of Preben Holm.  The Pipedia article concludes by describing the status of the Ben Wade name.  Duncan Briars purchased rights to the Ben Wade name from Dunhill Pipes in 1998 and continues to produce pipes at the same factory where Dunhill pipes are made:

The bowls are carved at the world famous 32 St. Andrews Road, Walthamstowe pipe factory, in London, England. The same factory where Dunhills are made. Every pipe is drilled spot on and exhibits a good blast and all have high quality German Vulcanite mouthpieces. Every pipe is stamped “Ben Wade, Made in London, England”. The craftsmanship and smokability have always been superb.

With a greater appreciation for the Ben Wade name, I take another look at the Ben Wade Bent Billiard on my worktable.  Even though the Pipedia article gave more of a negative view of traditional shapes of Ben Wades produced in the Lane Era, the pipe I’m looking at doesn’t reflect this.  The grain is beautiful, and I see no fills on the surface.  The chamber appears to have been cleaned and the briar surface is clean as well showing normal nicks and scratches.  The stem does have some minor oxidation and tooth dents on the button.  I also detect that there is a gap between the shank and stem – I’ll see if cleaning might correct this.  I take some close ups of these issues. To begin the cleanup of the Ben Wade, I run a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% through the stem.  Then, along with other pipes in the queue, I put the stem in a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation.  After a few hours, I remove the stem and wipe off the raised oxidation using cotton pads and light paraffin oil – mineral oil.  I also run another pipe cleaner through the airway to remove Deoxidizer. Turning to the stummel, I remove the very light cake in the chamber. With the chamber so large, I jump to the largest blade head from the Pipnet Reaming kit.  I follow this by using the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Tool and scraping the chamber walls further.  I finish by sanding the chamber wall using 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  To remove the carbon dust residue, I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The pictures show the progress. One of the purposes of removing the old cake to bring the chamber down to the briar, is not only for a fresh start.  When the carbon is removed the chamber can be inspected for problems usually pertaining to heat fissures and potential burn throughs.  Inspecting the Ben Wade, I detect on the forward part of the chamber a sloping indentation that is a little to pronounced to ignore.  Using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool again, I scrape carbon out of the indentation to make sure I’m getting down to the briar.  This reveals the full extent of the abnormal burning.  I take pictures to show what I see, but the picture doesn’t do too well.  Changing the aperture, the picture is lightened, and I outline the perimeter of the indentation in the final picture below.  I need to address this budding burn through later after cleaning the stummel.  Next, I clean the external stummel surface using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad.  The stummel cleans up well but reveals a tired, lackluster, thin finish. I then clean the internals of the stummel using cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.  The grunge is thick, so I also employ a dental spatula to scrape the mortise walls as well as a drill bit to hand turn down the airway to excavate the old tars and oils.  To save on pipe cleaners I also utilize a long shank brush to scrub the airway.  Eventually, the tide begins to turn, and the buds and pipe cleaners are emerging less soiled.   I take a picture of the tools I use.To continue cleaning the internals, I use a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I like to do this additional step in cleaning to further clean the tars and oils out of the internal briar and to freshen the pipe.  I use kosher salt because it doesn’t leave an aftertaste.  I stretch and twist a cotton ball to form a wick that I then insert down the mortise and airway pushing it with a straight, stiff wire.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt and place the stummel in an egg crate to keep it stable.  With a large eyedropper, I fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  I put the stummel aside to soak for several hours.Again, I look closely at the stem that had already soaked in the Before & After Deoxidizer and I see that there remains deeper oxidation.  Instead of going directly to sanding out the oxidation, I decide to put the stem in the OxiClean bath to let it soak overnight – to see if more oxidation would be raised.  I put a small bit of petroleum jelly over the Ben Wade stem stamping and I put the stem in the OxiClean and turned out the lights.  Another day is finished.The next morning the soak had done the job. After tossing the expended salt in the waste, I wipe the chamber with paper towel and blow through the mortise to clear any residual salt crystals. I also use a long shank brush down the mortise.  To make sure the internals are clean, I finish by using a cotton bud and pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% down the mortise and airway.  They come out clean.Next, I fish the stem out of the OxiClean where it has been soaking through the night.  More oxidation has surfaced.  I begin sanding the entire stem using 240 grit paper careful to protect the Ben Wade stamping and shouldering the stem.  I focus on the bit area removing the minor tooth chatter.  Using a flat needle file, I freshen the button edges.  I follow by wet sanding with 600 grit paper and then 0000 steel wool.  The oxidation appears to be removed for the larger part except for some around the Ben Wade stamping which I won’t sand for the sake of preserving the stamp. Taking it one step further, using Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Polish, I rub each into the vulcanite in succession.  Putting some on my finger, I work the polishes into the vulcanite and let the stem sit for a time to absorb the polish.  The polishes are advertised not only to revitalize vulcanite but also to continue to remove the oxidation.  After each polish is absorbed, I then wipe the stem down with a cotton pad.  The pictures show the progress.Putting the stem aside for now, I work on the budding burn through in the chamber.  Previously, I dug out any remaining charring in the indentation.  To make sure the area is fully clear, I sand the area again and wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean the chamber.  As far as chamber burn throughs go, this one is minimal.  It has not progressed far and the size and the thickness of the bowl means that there was never any imminent danger.  Yet, for the long-term view and use of this beautiful Ben Wade Bent Billiard, I repair the problem where it is before it grows and becomes a worse problem.  I mix a small batch of J-B Kwik Weld on an index card.  After combining the two components, ‘Steel’ and ‘Hardener’, I have about 4 minutes to apply the mixture before it starts setting. I use a flat dental spatula as a trowel and apply the J-B Weld to the indentation in the chamber.  I put the stummel aside to allow the J-B Weld to thoroughly cure. After it cures, I use a sanding drum mounted on the Dremel to sand the excess.  I follow this using the Sharpie Pen wrapped with 240 grit paper to leave the chamber smooth and shaped. I’m pleased with the results and glad I went the extra mile to arrest the potential burn through.  Later, I’ll apply a coat of activated charcoal and sour cream mixture to the chamber wall to improve the aesthetics and to aid formation of a new protective cake. Before continuing, I reunite the stem and stummel to examine the shank junction.  Earlier I saw a gap between the shank and the stem.  Often, after cleaning these problems are resolved.  I find that this indeed was the case as the stem is now seated as it should be.  Pictures are before and after.With the stem now properly seating, I turn again to the stem and using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stem.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Following each set of three pads, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to revitalize the stem.  I love the glassy pop of a micromeshed stem! Turning now to the external surface of the stummel, I take a closer look at the condition of the briar.  I identify some very small fills which are solid except for one, which is pitted.  Along with normal dents and scratches from wear, there is a small skin mark on the forward outer lip of the rim.  For the pitted fill, I dig out more of the old fill with a sharp dental probe.  Since I will put clear CA glue on the pitted fill, I color the fill with a walnut dye stick to aid in blending.  I then spot drop CA glue on the area and set the stummel aside allowing the glue to cure. After a full work day, the CA glue patch I applied this morning is fully cured.  I remove the CA glue mound starting with a flat needle file.  The key is to stay on the mound and gradually bring it down close to the briar surface.  I don’t want to impact any surrounding briar.  I follow the filing by using a tightly rolled piece of 240 grit paper to bring the glue down until it’s flush with the briar surface.  My rule of thumb is to sand until I can feel no roughness.  The patch looks good – blending well with the briar.To address the rim nicks, I decide to give the rim a very light topping.  Using a chopping board as my topping board, I place a sheet of 240 grade paper on the board.  Inverting the stummel, I rotate the stummel a few times on the board to freshen the rim lines and remove the nicks.  I follow with a few rotations on 600 grade paper.  The pictures show the progress. Next, to address the briar surface, I use in succession rough, medium and light grade sanding sponges to work out the cuts and nicks in preparation for the micromesh pads.  I find that using sanding sponges on smooth briars helps clean the surface of the old, tired finish without being greatly invasive.  The sponges also smooth and soften the rim lines after the topping.  I enjoy watching the grain begin to take center stage through the process.Next, using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stummel.  I follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I forgot to take a picture of the first set of 3 pads.  The grain is coming through nicely. Rejoining stem and stummel, I mount a 1-inch cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel set at about 40% full power and apply Blue Diamond compound to the entire pipe.Before applying carnauba wax to the stem and stummel, I need to touch up the Ben Wade stem stamping with the hope there’s enough tread left in the ‘Wade’ portion of the stamp to hold the paint.  Using white acrylic paint, I apply paint over the stamping and sponge off the excess while still wet and allow the paint to dry. After dry, I gently scrape the excess with the flat edge of a toothpick.  I’m less than satisfied.  I try reapplying more paint and wiping while still wet.  After working with it for some time, I’ve come to the best I can do.  The ‘Wade’ part of the stamping simply does not have enough depth left to fully hold paint.  The picture shows my less than hoped for results. One more project to finish before the final waxing.  After completing the chamber repair using J-B Weld and sanding, to aid the aesthetics and to provide a starter layer for developing a protective cake, I mix together sour cream or natural yogurt with activated charcoal to form an application to cover the walls of the chamber.  When I first heard about this mixture from Steve on rebornpipes, I was a bit doubtful then, but no longer.  I have used this application many times and after applying and drying, the result is a very sturdy layer.  After the pipe goes into service, the only caution is when cleaning out the bowl after use do not scrape the chamber with a pipe tool.  I simply use a folded bristled pipe cleaner to scrape the wall after dumping the ash.  This has worked well for me.  I place a pipe cleaner in the draft hole to keep the airway open.  Here in Bulgaria, yogurt is very plentiful, so I scoop some natural yogurt in a small bowl and add some activated charcoal powder and mix it.  After it mixes and thickens enough so it won’t be runny, I trowel the mixture into the chamber with a pipe nail tool and spread it evenly.  After it’s distributed well, I set the stummel aside for a time to allow the charcoal/yogurt mixture to cure. After the Charcoal/Yogurt coating sets, I reunite stem and stummel.  Using the Dremel, I mount another cotton cloth wheel, leaving the speed at about 40% and apply carnauba wax.  After a few coats of wax, I give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

This hefty Ben Wade Made in London England Bent Billiard turned out very well.  The horizontal grain on the huge stummel flows in a striking picture and is joined by large bird’s eye pools. The bowl rests very nicely in the palm and will provide its new steward with much enjoyment. Paresh commissioned this Ben Wade and will have the first opportunity to acquire it from The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

 

Revitalizing a GBD Colossus International London Made 1759 London England


Blog by Dal Stanton

This is the second pipe I’ve restored that was commissioned by Paresh.  Like the first, a Tom Howard Jumbo Rustified Squat Tomato, this is a large pipe and the name reflects this – a GBD Colossus International.  It truly is a ‘Colossus’ with a huge stylish stummel that is cut with angles that makes one think of a ‘dinner’ pipe.  With the clear, acrylic stem and canted, sharp angled stummel – and his sheer size, sets this pipe on an upper shelf.  Paresh commissioned the GBD from the For‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! section and this pipe, along with the Tom Howard, benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Here are the pictures that got Paresh’s attention.The left side of the stummel encases the nomenclature, Colossus (in cursive script) [over] GBD (in oval) [over] INTERNATIONAL [over] LONDON MADE.  A classic brass GBD rondel is embedded in the acrylic stem, placing the dating of the pipe as pre-Cadogan.  On the right shank side is stamped LONDON ENGLAND [over] 1759, the GBD shape number.  I also see a ‘D’ stamped on the lower side of the shank which I have no information on!

Based upon the straight COM LONDON ENGLAND and the brass rondel, this GBD is dated pre-Cadogan which is 1981 and earlier.  In the GBD Pipedia article, this reference places the pipe in the 60s or 70s naming the lines that GBD had during that time.  ‘International’ is nestled in the middle of the list.

The following list comprises the better grades in descending order:

Pedigree, Pedigree I, Pedigree II, Straight Grain, Prodigy, Bronze Velvet, Virgin, Varichrome, Prestige, Jubilee, New Era, Prehistoric, International, Universe, Speciale Standard, Ebony, Tapestry, New Standard, Granitan, Sauvage, Sierra, Penthouse, Legacy, Concorde.

This is confirmed by information sent to me from Al Jones, who knows more than most about GBD pipes.  Al sent me a PDF of Jerry Hannah’s finish guide and one reference for an ‘International’ comes from the 1976 catalog. Unfortunately, I found no listing for a shape number of 1759, but the shape is most definitely at least a 3/4 bent – not sure I would call it a Billiard but the sharp canted stummel reminds one of a Dublin! Looking more at the pipe’s condition, it bears normal scratches and nicks from normal use.  The rim is darkened with some lava flow.  There are a few light fills on the side of the stummel that need to be examined.  The acrylic stem has tooth chatter that needs addressing.  The amber colored airway should clean nicely.  I take some additional shots to show the issues. Starting with the basic cleaning, I ream the chamber of the light cake using the Pipnet Reaming kit revealing fresh briar.  The depth of the chamber becomes evident at almost 2 1/2 inches (2 7/16 to be exact) as it swallows the 3 blade heads I use to clean the carbon cake!  This chamber will pack a good bit of tobacco!  Following the Pipnet blades, I use the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Tool to fine tune and clean the chamber further reaching the depths.  Finally, I sand the chamber by wrapping 240 grit paper around a Sharpie Pen.  I finish the clean up of the chamber by wiping out the carbon dust using a cotton cloth wetted with isopropyl 95% and inspection of the chamber shows no problems.  The pictures show the progress. To clean the externals, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad to scrub the briar and darkened rim. I also use a brass wire brush to work on the rim.  Pictures show before and after.Continuing with the stummel cleaning, I work on the internals with pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95%. I also utilize a shank brush to work through the draft hole as well as a dental spatula to scrape the mortise wall.  The pipe cleaners and cotton buds start coming clean, but later, at the close of my work day, I’ll also utilize a kosher salt and alcohol soak to clean and freshen the internals further.Now, looking at the acrylic stem, it’s difficult to see with the pictures I’ve taken, but the button has some compression dents and the bit is clouded from tooth chatter.   The pictures show the starting point.   I first run a bristled pipe cleaner dipped with isopropyl 95% to clean the airway.Then, using a flat needle file and 240 grit paper I sand the bit and button to work out the tooth marks and compression dents on the button lip.  Following this, to erase the scratches of the filing and 240 grit paper, I sand using 600 grade paper and 0000 grade steel wool. Moving from the steel wool, I wet sand the stem using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and dry sand from 3200 to 12000 to bring out the glassy shine of the acrylic stem. I then mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the Dremel with speed set at about 40% and apply Tripoli compound to the entire stem.  I follow this using another buffing wheel, same speed, and apply White Diamond compound.  To remove the compound dust, I buff the stem with a felt cloth.  Acrylic stems love to be buffed up and this GBD Colossus International’s stem is looking great!  The acrylic is like glass. Looking now at the stummel, to address the dents and scratches on the surface, I wet sand using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with the remaining pads, 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. I enjoy watching the grain emerge during the micromesh cycles.  This GBD stummel has a lot of briar real estate and the grain is beautifully showcased.  The pictures show the emerging grain. With my work day closing, I continue the cleaning of the internals of the stummel using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  To do this I create a wick by pulling and twisting a cotton ball and stuffing it down the mortise and airway as far as I can manage with a rigid straight wire.  I then place the stummel in an egg crate for stability and fill the huge chamber with kosher salt which leave no after taste as its iodized cousin.  I give the stummel a shake capping the bowl and then fill the chamber with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes and the alcohol has been absorbed, I top off the chamber again.  Then, I set it aside until the morning.  The following morning the salt has discolored and the wick has an ink-like color on the top – not sure what that is.  I clear out the expended salt and use paper towel to clean the chamber.  I also blow through the mortise to dislodge used salt.  I then use a pipe cleaner and cotton bud dipped in isopropyl 95% to make sure all was clean, and it was. With the sanding of the GBD stummel with micromesh pads, the briar grain naturally darkens and deepens through the process.  I look again at the fills I identified earlier which are solid but they had lightened.  I want to darken and blend these fills at this point in the process.  I use a maple dye stick and gently color the fills.  To blend, I feather wipe the fills with a cotton pad wetted with a bit of alcohol.  The result looks good. Before proceeding to apply compound to the stummel surface, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to deepen and enrich the briar.  I apply some Balm to my finger and work the Balm in to the briar.  As I’ve noted on previous restorations, the Balm begins with a light oil texture and thickens as it is applied.  I like the Balm because it treats the natural briar hue and deepens and enriches the look.  I take a picture after applying the Balm and before wipe/buffing it off after a few minutes standing. I now mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, with speed set at approximately 40% full power and apply Blue Diamond compound to the briar surface.  After this is completed, I reunite the GBD Colossus International acrylic stem with the stummel and apply coats of carnauba wax.  I do this after changing cotton cloth buffing wheels on the Dremel – at the same speed.  I finish the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth.This GBD Colossus International lives up to its name.  The stummel is huge and the grain showcased is a beautiful labyrinth of swirls.  Completing the ensemble is the glass-like acrylic stem with an amber vein dissecting the 3/4 bent orientation.  Paresh commissioned the GBD Colossus International from For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! and will have the first opportunity to acquire the GBD in the The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

The Vintage Notoriety of Tom Howard and his Jumbo Squat Rustified Tomato


Blog by Dal Stanton

I’ve never restored a pipe where the person who made it had more notoriety than the pipe name itself.  The Tom Howard Jumbo Squat Rustified Tomato came to me along with several others from a good friend I worked with in Ukraine several years ago.  Dave Shain is also a fellow pipe man and restores pipes and has a great website, www.ThePipery.com.  In 2017, Dave won the Master of Pipes award from the Chicago Pipe Collectors Club for his work and charitable activities through The Free Pipe Project where Dave spearheads a program to send quality restored pipes to servicemen serving their country.  I visited Dave where he lives near Atlanta, Georgia, and we had a great time renewing our relationship.  He showed me his workshop, pipe and tobacco collections, and of course, we settled down in the ‘Barn’ flanked by a vintage Ford pickup – his Man Cave, to share a bowl or two.  It was a fun reunion!  I left with a tin of his aged Escudo and several pipes he wanted me to restore for the Daughters of Bulgaria, which I was more than happy to do.  Thanks Dave!The Tom Howard is now on my worktable because another pipe man, Paresh, saw it on The Pipe Steward site in my section, For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only!  This is where I post pipes that are in my electronic ‘Help Me!’ basket that others can commission to add to their collections.  Like me, through rebornpipes’ Steve Laug’s encouragement and tutelage, Paresh started restoring some of his own pipes in India, where he lives, and publishing his write ups on rebornpipes.  This LINK will take you to his restorations published on rebornpipes – he does a great job!   After seeing some of my restorations online, Paresh visited The Pipe Steward and saw some pipes that chose him – like Harry Potter and the wizard’s wands!  One thing I’ve learned in my growing relationship with Paresh as we’ve communicated back and forth between Bulgaria and India, is that he doesn’t like large pipes – he LOVES large pipes!  And this Tom Howard Jumbo Squat Rustified Tomato got his attention – here are the pictures he saw in For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only!The pipe is marked on the left shank with ‘Tom Howard’ in cursive script and ‘Imported Briar’ on the right shank side in the same script.  For a Squat Tomato, I’ve labeled it a ‘Jumbo’ because it has a definite stout presence in the palm.  The dimensions of the bowl give you an understanding of Tom Howard’s presence: Length: 5 5/16 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Bowl width: 2 1/8 inches, Rim width: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber width: 7/8 inches, Chamber depth: 1 1/4 inches.I had never heard of a Tom Howard stamp on a pipe and after I put the name in search tool on Pipedia I was surprised to find what I found.  Tom Howard was a vintage celebrity in America during the 1940s and 50s.  Here’s the Pipedia said about Tom Howard the man:

Tom Howard was a popular comedian and personality in the 1940s/50s, known for vaudeville stage and radio work. But he also was a skilled pipe maker. In a Popular Mechanic article from 1947 he is written up as the “Hobbyist of the Month, Tom Howard.” He made pipes in his workshop outside his home in Red Bank, NJ. starting about 1939 and looks like into the late 1940’s or later. He purchased briar blocks by the bag as well as stem blanks, and in his well-equipped shop he handcrafted his pipes, in about three hours on average. He was a true craftsman, also specializing is intricate model boats, trains and brass canons, all built to scale.

I was intrigued – this vaudeville and stage comedian made pipes and this pipe came from his workshop made by his hands.  How cool is that?  Desiring to find out more about Tom Howard the man, I searched Wikipedia and found a fun and informative article about his professional life and how he hosted a I was intrigued – this vaudeville and stage comedian made pipes and this pipe came from his workshop made by his hands.  How cool is that?  Desiring to find out more about Tom Howard the man, I searched Wikipedia and found a fun and informative article about his professional life and how he hosted a zany Q&A game show that was spoofing the ‘serious’ Q&A game shows.  It was called “It Pays to Be Ignorant”.   Here is what the Wikipedia article said:

It Pays to Be Ignorant was a radio comedy show which maintained its popularity during a nine-year run on three networks for such sponsors as Philip MorrisChrysler, and  DeSoto. The series was a spoof on the authoritative, academic discourse evident on such authoritative panel series as Quiz Kids and Information Please, while the beginning of the program parodied the popular quiz show, Doctor I.Q. With announcers Ken Roberts and Dick Stark, the program was broadcast on Mutual from June 25, 1942 to February 28, 1944, on CBS from February 25, 1944 to September 27, 1950 and finally on NBC from July 4, 1951 to September 26, 1951. The series typically aired as a summer replacement.

Snooping a bit more, I found an online site that had the July 5, 1951 episode of ‘It pays to Be Ignorant’ available for viewing.  I watched it and it was like I was in a time machine!  The video also included period advertising for cars and tobacco and Tom Howard in form, dawning a professorial gown and a gravelly 1950s vaudeville tin can voice.  It’s great! I clipped a picture of the episode.  If you want to see it yourself, here’s the link:  The Internet Archive.

The Pipedia article I included above, referenced one more source to learn a bit more about Tom Howard.  In a 1947 Popular Mechanics edition he was named ‘Hobbyist of the Month’ – but it didn’t say which month!  With a little bit of help from Google, I found Archive.org that housed old editions of many periodicals including Popular Mechanics.  I started in January and started searching – thankfully they had a search tool I utilized for each month.  Finally, I found the article in the Popular Mechanic 1947 June’s edition.   For the absolute nostalgia of it, and for the interesting information it adds about Tom Howard and especially his pipe production, I’m including the pages here for you to read – including the cover page!  I couldn’t pass it up!   With a greater appreciation for the pipe man, Tom Howard, I take another look at the Jumbo Squat Rustified Tomato before me and based upon the articles above the dating of this pipe could range from the late 1930s to the early 50s as Tom Howard died in 1955 at the age of 70 according to Wikipedia.  The chamber has very little cake buildup.  The rim is worn and the rustification on the rim is filled or simply worn down – I’ll need to clean this to see.  The inner lip of the rim is darkened by scorching.  The rustified stummel is attractive – it has scratches and blemishes from use.  The smooth briar around the rustification is nice looking – I think it will look very nice after cleaned and spruced up some.  The stem has some oxidation and the bit shows minor tooth chatter.  I notice too, that Tom Howard but a subtle bend on the saddle stem to give the stem a definite orientation – nice touch and it looks good too.I begin the restoration by cleaning the internal airway of the stem using a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% and then adding it to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other stems of pipes in queue to be restored.  After a few hours I remove the stem from the bath and wipe it down with a cotton pad wetted with light paraffin oil (mineral oil) removing the light oxidation that was raised from the vulcanite.Turning now to the stummel, to remove the light cake in the chamber I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  Even though the cake is light, I want to give the chamber a fresh start.  I jump right to the 3rd largest blade head and finish using the largest.  I follow the reaming blades by using the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Tool to scrape the chamber wall further, then finish by sanding the chamber with 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  To clean the carbon dust, I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  I inspect the chamber wall and it looks good – no cracks or heat fissures.  The pictures show the process. To clean the external surface of the stummel, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads.  I also utilize a bristled tooth brush to clean the rustification as well as a brass bristled brush to work on the rim and the dark scorching on the inner lip. Turning to the internals, I use cotton buds and pipe cleaners with isopropyl 95% to clean. I also employ dental spatulas to scrape the mortise walls as well as a drill bit to clean the airway.  I sized a bit just large enough to fit the airway and hand-turn the bit to clean the tars off the walls.  After some time, the cotton buds and pipe cleaners start coming out cleaner.  Later, I will continue the internal cleaning by giving the internals a kosher salt and alcohol soak.Turning to the stem, I use 240 grit paper to sand out the roughness and tooth dent in the bit area – upper and lower.  I follow this by wet sanding the entire stem with 600 grit paper.  I then use 0000 grade steel wool to sand/buff the stem.  The pictures show the progress. While I was sanding, I notice that the draft hole in the button is not shaped well – a bite compression or something.  I use a sharp needle file to even the opening and I repeat the sanding process for the button end – 240, 600 and 0000 steel wool.With my day ending, I continue the cleaning of the stummel internals by utilizing a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I create a ‘wick’ by pulling and twisting a cotton ball.  I then insert it and stuff it down the mortise into the airway as much as it will allow.  I then fill the chamber with kosher salt – why kosher?  It will not leave a residue taste as iodized salt.  I place the stummel in an egg cart to keep it steady and fill the bowl with alcohol using a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes I top it off once more – and turn off the lights. The next morning, the kosher salt/alcohol soak had done its job.  The salt and wick are soiled by drawing out more tars and oils.  I throw the used salt in the waste and wipe the bowl with paper towel and blow through the mortise to dislodge any remaining salt.  I then use a few more cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% to make sure.  All is good – clean – and I move on! Looking at the stummel, I see several scratches on the smooth briar surrounding the rustification.  The rim isn’t even and it is worn.  I decide to freshen the rim by topping the stummel but only lightly – I don’t want to erase the rustification that Tom Howard placed there many years ago!  Using 240 grade paper on a chopping board, I invert the stummel and give it a few rotations and look.  I do this a few times and decide I’ve taken off enough.  It looks good and the rustification remains intact.  I then switch to 600 grade paper on the topping board and give the stummel a few more rotations.  This erases the rougher 240 scratches and smooths the rim surface.  The pictures show the topping process from the start to finish. Darkened briar remains on the inner ring of the rim from scorching (picture above).  To address this, I introduce a gentle internal bevel using 120 grade paper, followed by 240, then 600.  With each paper grade, I roll the piece of sanding paper into a tight roll and rotate it around the circumference of the internal lip by pinching the paper with my thumb.  This allows a uniform beveling to emerge.  The pictures show the progression. Now to the briar surface.  The smooth briar has a lot of small scratches and rough places throughout.  The first picture below also shows an example of Tom Howard’s rustification processes not contained to the rustification areas. I will spot sand these areas. First, I sand out the overrun rustification marks with 240 and 600 paper.  And then, to address the smooth briar of the entire stummel, I use a rough grade sanding sponge to remove the scratches and blemishes.  I then follow with a medium grade sponge then a light grade sponge.  Taking the stummel to the next step, I wet sand it with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  All I can say is, ‘Wow!’  I love watching the grain emerge through the micromesh pad regimen.  Each pad teases out the grain a bit more.  The pictures show the progression. I put the stummel aside and pick up the Tom Howard stem and using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand.  Then I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads, I apply a generous coating of Obsidian Oil that revitalizes the vulcanite stem.  The result is the glossy pop we all expect! Looking again at the stummel, there are some pinhead fills on the left shank side that need to be addressed as well as the worn rustification cuts that have fill material visible and generally, is lighter than desired.  I take some pictures of the different things I see.In the Pipedia article of Tom Howard, there were several pictures of his pipes that were provided courtesy of Doug Valitchka, which give an idea of the original motif used when Tom Howard rustified his pipes.  The picture below shows a dark shaded rustification, though it appears that Mr. Howard put a dye on this stummel to give it a more reddish hue.  Using this picture as a guide, I use a walnut dye stick to color and blend the pinhead fills and to redefine the rustification, yet I prefer the natural briar hue of this Tom Howard Squat Tomato and will not stain the stummel. Now, to ‘rough up’ the rustification, I mount the Dremel with a more abrasive felt buffing wheel set at 40% full power and apply Tripoli compound to the rustification.  The effect is that this softens the hue – blends it more so that it doesn’t look painted.  I think it does the job and I like the blending!I buff the stummel with a felt cloth to remove leftover compound and I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the stummel.  This Balm works well to bring out the deep hues of the natural briar.  I squeeze some Balm on my finger and I work it into the stummel and rustification.  The Balm begins as a light oil texture then thickens as it’s works into the briar.  I let is set for several minutes then I wipe/buff the Balm residue off with a microfiber cloth. I then reunite stem and stummel and mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the stummel, maintain a 40% full power speed, and apply Blue Diamond compound to both stem and stummel.  As before, using a felt cloth, I buff the pipe to remove compound dust left behind before waxing.  I then mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the Dremel, maintain the same speed, and apply carnauba wax to the entire pipe.  I finish by giving the pipe a good hand-buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine of the briar even more.

I’m pleased with the results of the Tom Howard Jumbo Rustified Squat Tomato.  I’m pleased with the textured blending of the rustification with the backdrop of beautiful smooth briar.  The contrast between the two is attractive.  I’m thankful to Dave Shain for giving me this Tom Howard to restore for the Daughters.  I’m also thankful for having discovered through the research the story of an interesting man.  Tom Howard was an accomplished comedian and stage person during his time.  But most interesting to me was his pursuits at home – in his workshop making quality pipes – not on a factory production line, but one pipe at a time with his own hands.  His love of pipes and placing them in other’s hands reminds me somewhat of my own worktable – the love of restoration and passing pipes on to others.  Paresh commissioned this Tom Howard and he will have the first opportunity to acquire him in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe will also benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – our work helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Recommissioning a Sand Blasted Canadian – Made in London England


Blog by Dal Stanton

The Lot of 66 that I acquired last year continues to yield pipes to my worktable that are very collectible.  Robert fares from the US state of North Carolina and he has seen many of my online posts on Facebook Groups – The Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society and The Elite Pipes & Tobacco Groups. This is the fellowship and camaraderie I have discovered in these groups among other pipe men and women which many find to be very rewarding.  With the internet being world-wide, the fellowship and relationships cross geopolitical borders and often the ‘Fellowship of the Pipe’ breaks down walls that are created because we live in a broken world.  I’ve commissioned pipes from “For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only!” that have gone all over the world and it’s been enjoyable to correspond with those who have received pipes from my worktable.  Robert saw an eye-catching Canadian and commissioned it and this unbranded, Made in London England is now on the worktable.  Here are the pictures Robert saw. Unfortunately, this Canadian has no identifying nomenclature other than MADE IN LONDON [over] ENGLAND.  Yet, the ‘flavor’ of the pipe has a quality classic feel to it.  The blasted surface is eye catching showing very distinctive grain in 3-D. This is not a poorly crafted pipe.Along with the attractive blasted finish, another reason this Canadian got Robert’s attention was the size: Length: 7 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Bowl width 1 3/16, Chamber width: 3/4 inches, Chamber depth: 1 9/16 inches.  It’s a long Canadian of 7 inches which is what everyone wants in this shape family.  Working on a Canadian, I always find helpful Bill Burney’s Shapes Guide Pipedia article to understand the differences among the Canadian cousins.  The oval shank and tapered bit identify the Made in London England as a straight up Canadian.Looking at his condition, the chamber has a light layer of cake but the rim along with the entire external surface look great – but a good cleaning will refresh the blasted surface.  The stem has some oxidation and tooth chatter to address.  For all that I see, this restoration should be straight forward.

I begin by adding the Canadian tapered stem to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer with other pipes’ stems that are in queue for restoration.  Before doing so, I use a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% to clean the airway of the stem not only to clean the stem but also to keep the Deoxidizer from being contaminated. After soaking for some hours, I drain off the Canadian stem and wipe off the raised oxidation using a cotton pad wetted with light paraffin oil – Bulgaria’s version of mineral oil.  The Deoxidizer does a good job of raising the oxidation.After cleaning the stem of the Deoxidizer, I still detect some deep oxidation.  To deal with this I sand the stem first with 240 grit paper, also sanding out tooth chatter on the bit and button.  I follow by wet sanding with 600 grit paper to erase the 240 grit scratches.  I believe the oxidation has been removed.I put the stem aside for now and pick up the long, lanky Canadian stummel and begin by removing the light cake in the chamber.  I put down paper towel to help in cleaning. Using the Pipnet Reaming Kit, starting with the smallest blade head and moving to the larger using 2 of the 4 blades available in the Kit.  I follow this by using the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Tool to scrape the chamber wall and to reach down into the chamber getting the harder to reach angles.  Finally, to bring out fresh briar in the chamber, I complete the reaming by sanding the chamber wall with 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen which gives some leverage.  To clean the carbon dust left behind I wet cotton pads with isopropyl 95% and wipe the chamber.  With a clean chamber, I’m able to inspect its condition and I see no crack or heat fissures.  It looks good! Next, I turn to the external blasted briar surface and clean using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads.  I also use a bristled tooth brush to scrub the textured surface.  There isn’t a lot of grime.  The pictures show the progress. Turning now to the internals of the Canadian stummel, my main arsenal are shank brushes to reach through the long shank.  I dip the shank brushes as well as pipe cleaners and cotton buds into isopropyl 95% to clean the airway.  It doesn’t take too long.With the stummel clean, I now continue work on the stem.  I begin by wet sanding using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, following with dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads I apply a nice coat of Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite stem.  In the interest of full disclosure, after the completion of the first set of 3 micromesh pads, I detected oxidation at both upper and lower right-angle mergers of the stem and button.  I backtracked and used a flat needle file to sharpen the button lips – upper and lower and removed the residual oxidation.  I’m sparing you of the pictures that repeated the 240, 600 grit papers, 0000 steel wool and repeat of pads 1500 to 2400.  On we go! Turning back to the Canadian stummel, next I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the blasted briar surface to recondition and revitalize it.  I like the Restoration Balm because it takes the briar where it is and deepens it – the change is subtle but noticeable.  I’m anxious to see what the Restoration Balm does with a blasted surface.  Most of my experience using it has been with smooth briar.  I squeeze some Balm on my finger and work it into the briar surface.  I make sure to work the balm into the nooks and crannies of the textured blasted surface.  With the amount of briar real estate of this Canadian it takes 3 ‘squeezes’ of Balm to cover the surface adequately.  After applying the Balm, I let the stummel rest for 10 minutes allowing the Balm to do whatever it does!  I take a picture before application, during the 10-minute rest and after.  You be the judge! After rejoining the Canadian stem and stummel, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, set the speed at 40% of full power and apply Blue Diamond compound to both stem and stummel.  Since I live in an apartment on the 10th floor of a former Communist blok apartment building and have limited space, one of the advantages I’ve discovered by using a Dremel as my main workhorse tool for buffing and drilling is that the buffing wheels are very small – about an inch in diameter. This allows me to surgically apply compounds and wax.  This is especially helpful for a blasted or rustified surfaces like I’m working on now.  I’m able to pivot the buffing wheels orientation to move along with the grain and not against it.  This helps in spreading wax without it getting bogged up on the rougher surface.  After completing the application of Blue Diamond compound, I buff the pipe well with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust before waxing. Next, I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the Dremel, maintain 40% full power speed, and I apply several coats of carnauba wax to the blasted Canadian briar surface and vulcanite stem.  I finish the restoration by giving the pipe a hearty hand buffing using a microfiber cloth.

The grain on this blasted Canadian Made in London England is exceptional.  Though it has no branding, I’m guessing it was produced in a factory producing other classic English pipes like GBD or BBB.  This pipe demonstrates the classic long lines of a Canadian and therefore it is most definitely a keeper and will be a great addition to one’s collection.  Robert commissioned this Canadian from For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! and will have first opportunity to acquire it in The Pipe Steward Store.  This Canadian benefits our work here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!