Tag Archives: Dunhill Patent Era Pipes

Cracked Shank Repair on a Dunhill CK12 Author


Blog by Henry Ramirez

Henry and I have been emailing back and forth on all things pipe repair and I have to say I enjoy each missive he sends me. He is a creative guy who is using his dentistry expertise to work on pipes. The kind of repairs he does and the equipment he has both built and gathered is unique and certainly adds some new ideas to the hopper for refurbishers like me. I don’t want to bore you with all kinds of introduction on Henry. I will let his restoration of this old Dunhill speak for itself. Welcome and thank you for your contribution Henry. – Steve Laug, rebornpipes

I’d seen this old pipe bought and sold several times on Ebay, each time gussied up a little more but still tap dancing around the issue of the split shank repair band. Being the sucker that I am for gnarly old patent Shell Dunhill’s, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to see what was under the band and possibly date this old codger.

Using 10x’s loupes with a parallel headlight source, I sectioned the band to find, to my lucky surprise, NO CEMENT! Just popped off, pretty as you please with no clean-up necessary. I used a fine carborundum wheel to initially trough the metal and then finished with a sharp new #2 carbide round but in an electric lab hand piece by Kavo. The Kavo or less expensive Medidenta hand pieces are ergonomic and very smooth running when compared with dremels. I would not try such a procedure for fear of scaring the briar without a hand piece I fully trusted.The newly exposed underside of the shank was faintly stamped with an incomplete patent number starting with 116(989/17) which would place this pipe from 1925-1934. No closure here since the date stamp was completely sanded off when the band was fitted.I was also pleased with the stem’s sizing to the shank. Still there was enough of a suggestion of the shell finish to complement the rest of the pipe.The 8mm stem orifice leads me to think this was a filtered pipe.The usual chamber cake removal (different pipe). I also use drill bits by hand to router out the mortise to bowl.When I want to conserve the original briar’s finish, I plug the bowl with a cork after stretching a latex or nitrile glove over the rest of the pipe. I then snip the tip of one of the fingers and poke the shank through the finger and out the hole. I tie off the glove and scrub the mortise and shank submerged in a Tupperware container filled with 91% isopropyl alcohol or vodka. Black muck floats out with every agitation of the shank brush.Drilling the micro-pin channel across the fissure. Once threaded into place, the pin shears off and the driver/carrier is removed. Of course I want the pin in the center of the thickest part of the shank through which the crack runs.The X-ray below shows not only the pin but also some of the composite plug. The composite plug was done at the end of the crack to prevent propagation.Pin hole back filled with black CA. Also spread some for aesthetic purposes on the composite plug. The stem was then buffed with four of pumice, Tim West’s green & red abrasive bars, White Diamond, Bendix plastic polish, Paragon wax and then a clean wheel and micro fiber towel. The bowl rim was gently micro-etched (Danville sand blaster) and polished with a Robinson bristle wheel brush. Luckily, the pipe was dark in general and the wax darkened the rim so that it blended. I flamed the wax to melt it into the rustications and buffed using a shoe polish brush supported by the bench pin. I ozonated the pipe for a night to remove any ghosting.Hope I don’t bore you with my Magnificent Obsession of resurrecting old pipes with the tools at hand. BTW, the light spot on the shank is an artifact of my flash. I’m going to deep six my crummy point and shoot and use my iPhone camera now that my MacBook can again see it as a drive. If you’re having the same problem, download Sierra operating sys from Apple for free.

Yours faithfully, Henry.

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Restoring a Patent-era Dunhill 137 – Andrew Selking


Blog by Andrew Selking

I stumbled across this Dunhill while browsing eBay. A little bit of research indicated this was a desirable patent-era pipe from the collector’s range, which used a better of briar. The pictures indicated a lot of tar build-up (I actually don’t mind tar, it seems to protect the rim from some of the abuse of knocking out the pipe) and some dark spots that might hide scorch marks or burn through. The stem looked decent, free of significant chatter or bite through, so I decided to take a chance.

Here’s what the pipe looked like when it arrived.Dun1

Dun2 The first order of business was to loosen the tar and heave cake, so I dropped the bowl in the alcohol bath.Dun3 Next I turned my attention to the stem with the Oxyclean bath (yes it is taking a bath with another Dunhill stem, which I will write about later).Dun4 After a good long soak, I broke out my Castleford reamer and removed the cake back to the wood.Dun5 After cleaning the inside of the bowl, I used some 0000 grade steel wool in an attempt to remove the tar.Dun6 Usually that works, but there was some rim damage that necessitated topping. Dun7 I use a piece of glass that I found to ensure an even surface when topping.Dun8 I also use a relatively fine grit (400 grit) paper when doing something like this. I find that it makes the final sanding easier and I don’t inadvertently remove more than I wanted to. Here is what the bowl looked like after topping.Dun9 Next I tackled the inside of the shank using the retort.Dun10 There is nothing like boiling alcohol to loosen up built up tar and tobacco. This is what the brush looked like after the first pass.Dun11 In case you’re wondering what I do to clean the brush in between passes, I swish it in the jar I use for soaking the bowls. The sediment settles to the bottom and since soaking in alcohol is only one step in the process, I don’t worry too much about it.

Once the brush no longer captured a bunch of gunk, I moved on to q-tips dipped in rubbing alcohol. In my opinion, rubbing alcohol works fine for general cleaning, but it does not work well for mixing with stain or for doing the retort. As you can see, it took a good amount of q-tips before the shank came clean.Dun12 Next I used the retort on the stem. As always, I made sure to plug the end to ensure the dirty alcohol didn’t boil over and shoot out the end (that’s always hard to explain to your significant other).Dun13 The stem was pretty nasty, as you can see from the residual alcohol in the test tube.Dun14 After using a pile of fuzzy sticks (I get them in the craft section at Wal Mart, they’re cheaper than pipe cleaners and longer), the inside of the stem was finally clean.Dun15 Starting with the stem, I used 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper with water to remove the oxidation. I then moved on to 1500-2400 grit micro-mesh pads with water. I find that the wet sandpaper does a good job getting into the little crease on the underside of the button. It’s also helpful to occasionally dry the stem off and see if there’s still any oxidation left, it’s easy to overlook when the stem is wet.Dun16 I use the same progression of micromesh on both the bowl and the stem, although I don’t use water with the bowl. Here is the pipe after going through the entire progression 15000 through 12,000.Dun17 I stained the bowl with Pimo Pipe Supply’s mahogany stain, diluted with denatured alcohol and flamed to set.

Next I took the bowl and stem to the buffing wheel, where I used some white diamond and a couple of coats of carnauba wax. Here is the finished result.Dun18

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