Tag Archives: Dunhill Pipes

Previous Repairs Can Wreak Havoc in a Restoration – Dunhill Shell Briar R F/T 1962 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

This Dunhill came to us in the same lot of pipes as the 1922 Dunhill Bruyere Reading Pipe and the BBB Calabash Reading Pipe that I have already restored and written blogs on. It was a great looking blast on this pipe that caught our attention. The silver band on the shank was definitely an aftermarket addition to repair a cracked shank. It was made out of Sterling Silver so that was not a big deal to us when we purchased the lot. It was a filthy pipe with a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy lava overflow on the rim top. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had deep tooth marks on both sides next to the button. It is hard to see until the close up photos but the shank was seriously crack about 1/8 of an inch ahead of the band on the underside of the shank and from the shank end you could see two large crack at 3 and 9 o’clock. Jeff took photos of the pipe as it stood when we received it.  He took photos of the bowl and rim to give a picture of the depth of the cake and lava on the rim top. You can also see the nicks around the outer edge of the rim. Even the stem was pretty normal fare – tooth marks with a small hole in the underside and heavy wear and tear on the rest of the stem. Everything was pretty common in terms of the restorations that we work on at least we thought so at this point! He took some photos of the sides of the bowl to show the beautiful (and filthy), rugged sandblast around the bowl. It really was a magnificent looking bowl. It took a few photos to try to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank. There are deep scratches in the smooth portion of the shank and heel of the bowl. On the heel it is stamped R F/T. That is followed by Dunhill [over] Shell Briar followed by Made In [over] England with a 2 following the D in England. You can also see the repaired cracked shank in the photos below. The silver band is stamped Sterling Silver on the underside. If we had stopped here a lot of pain could have been avoided! If we just left is dirty and did a cursory clean up and just smoked it we could have avoided a multitude of issues. But that is not the way we work. Jeff attacked the cleanup by trying to take the pipe apart. The stem was stuck in the shank. He tried heat, cold and even pouring alcohol down the shank to try and loosen what we assumed was the grime and grit that held the stem firmly in the shank. Nothing worked. He even heated the band area to try to loosen the stem from the shank but nothing work. Finally after a combination of all of the above he felt what he thought was a bit of give in the stem and gave it a very careful twist…. Here is where all went horribly wrong. Remember that crack in the shank shown in the above photos? That is what gave and the shank came off in his hand! Now what to do. We talked and he was sick with what had happened but there was nothing to be done. And do you know what the worst part was? The stem was still stuck! He went back through all of the methods we all use to loosen a stem and finally it came free! BUT the band had been epoxied on the shank and it was not removable!

It was in this state that the pipe came to me in a bag. Now it was my turn to try to see if I could loosen the band. I took the broken shank and band and filled up a small jar with enough acetone to cover the band and let the piece soak for two days in the bath. I replenished the acetone as it evaporated. The incredible thing for me was that this had absolutely no effect on the band and briar. It was permanently bonded! Time to come up with a new plan of attack.I let the broken shank sit on my desk in pieces for several days – probably about a week while I worked on other pipes. Finally after recently repairing the broken shank on the Butz-Choquin for Randy (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/01/16/a-badly-broken-butz-choquin-pipe-makes-its-way-back-to-me-for-repair-and-restoration/) I had an idea for fixing this one. Give that blog a read if you want to know the difference.

In this case there was already a band and the break was further down the shank making it a bit more problematic to address. I cut a short piece of Delrin that would extend far enough into the bowl side of the broken shank to provide some stability and into the shank end to tie it together. I decided to leave the mortise the depth it was to add stability to the shank rather than drill it out and extend the tube in further. I would need to drill out the Delrin a bit and reduce the diameter of the tenon to fit inside the tube I the shank. It just might work and was certainly worth a try. I roughened up the Delrin with a sanding drum on the Dremel to provide a rough surface of the glue to bind to in the shank.I fit the Delrin piece in the bowl end of the broken shank to make sure it fit. I then painted the surface of the Delrin with super glue and pressed into the banded shank end. I coated the briar ends with an all purpose glue and joined the pieces together. I clamped them until the glue set. Once it had I filled in the gaps in the crack with clear CA glue and set it aside to cure. I used a corner of 220 sandpaper to carefully smooth out the glue on the crack repair. I was able to make it smooth and not ruin the sandblast! That alone was an accomplishment. The repair obscured the 2 on the date stamp. It is still present but now blurred.

I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean up a bit more of the sandblast on the rim top and then used a combination of Cherry and Mahogany stain pens to restain the rim edges and the repaired area of the shank and blend it into the rest of the bowl. With the repair completed and the briar restained I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.     Now it was time to deal with the fit of the stem in the newly lined shank! I had a couple of options here. I could either drill out the tube and open the shank up a bit more or I could reduce the diameter of the tenon and make it fit that way. Since the shank was already fragile and twice repaired I opted for reducing the diameter of the tenon. I took it down with a Dremel and sanding drum until it was a close fit in the shank. I worked on it with 220 grit sandpaper to get it even closer. Once I had the tenon end in I could see that things were slightly off. So instead of continuing to reduce the diameter of the tenon I used a needle file to even out the inside of the shank and get as close to an equal fit on all sides of the tube. That was more of a job that I make it sound and actually took a fair bit of time.Once I had a good fit to the shank I put the stem and bowl together and took some photos of the pipe at this point in the process. I still needed to work on the fit of the stem to the shank and alignment and gaps but the tenon fit well. I also need to work on repairing the tooth marks. You will see in the last photo of the underside of the stem that I had already started the process.   With the fit of the stem taken care of I worked on the repairs necessary to make it fully functional. I took a bit of excess stem material off the flattened bottom of the stem at the shank to make the fit seamless. I also filled in the tooth marks and pin prick with black super glue and set the stem aside to cure.  Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad until they blended in well with the surrounding vulcanite. I used a small flat needle file to clean up the sharp edge of the button but forgot to take photos of that! Once the repair was smoothed out I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I finished by polishing the stem with Before & After Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine and gave the stem a final wipe down with Obsidian Oil.    I am really happy to be finished with the rescue of this beautifully grained sandblast 1962 Dunhill Shell Briar R Pot. The grain is quite stunning and the blast is rugged. The repair to the broken shank while not a total thing of beauty worked very well and makes the pipe usable once again. The permanently affixed Sterling Silver band is useful reinforcement externally for the tube in the shank. The refit stem came out looking very good. The pipe should be a good smoking pipe and outlast all of us as it moves through the hands of the pipe men and women who take on the trust. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.48 ounces/41 grams. Because of the repairs to the pipe I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the British Pipe Makers section at a price that is significantly lower than it would have been had it not been repaired.   It might be a chance for one of you to add it to your collection for a good price. Thanks for following the work on this pipe in the blog.

 

A Once in a Lifetime Find – a 1922 Dunhill Bruyere Cased Reading Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

Time really flies during this COVID-19 time! It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. It had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange. But I have to tell you there was one pipe that took my breath away when I looked at pictures of it. It was a beautiful older cased Dunhill pipe that is shown in the photo below. I have worked on a lot of Dunhill pipes over the years and never had the opportunity to work on one like this. It would be a crown jewel of the Dunhill pipes that I have kept from the many I have worked on. From the photos it looked like the red leather case that housed it was in excellent condition. When the case was open it was lined with a cream coloured satin material on the top with Alfred Dunhill London embossed on the satin. The base of the case had more of a soft lining that was form fitted for the pipe and the shank extension. The pipe appeared to be in excellent condition from the photo he sent me. He said that the pipe was stamped on the left side and read Ao followed by Dunhill over London. On the right side it was stamped Made in England with a superscript underlined 2 after the D. Under that it was stamped Pat. America 1915 followed by the shape number 53. I could not wait to get it and have a look at it up close and personal. I had him ship it to Jeff for cleanup so it would be a while before I held in hand.I posted the above picture of the pipe on the Vintage Dunhill Collectors Group on Facebook to see if the folks there could help learn about the pipe while I waited for its arrival. Several of the readers suggested I look on both Pipedia and Pipephil to help date the pipe and get a feel for its provenance. I figured I would do that so I turned to both sites and read the information contained in them (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill). One of the readers also sent me an intriguing link on Pipedia to a pipe that looked like the one I had purchased. I have attached the photo from that below. The photo below shows a 1920 Dunhill Cased Reading Pipe from the collection of the late Derek Green (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Dunhill_cased_reading_pipe_.jpg). It is very similar to the one that I was awaiting so it was a great link for me.The John Loring Collection also had a 1922 Dunhill Bruyere 53 Reading pipe that is identical to mine. I include that  photo below. The stamping on the shank is identical to mine.When the package arrived at Jeff’s place in Idaho he waited for me and opened the box with me on Facetime to look at the collection of pipes as he removed them from the box. It is an amazing collection and one that I am going to enjoy working on over the months ahead. Jeff took some photos of the Dunhill Cased Bruyere 53 Reading Pipe for me to look at while he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a real beauty. The stamping on the pipe was exactly as noted above. I am including the details that I see in the photos below. It was stamped on the left side Ao followed by DUNHILL (over) LONDON. The Ao stamp is the designation for a Bruyere finish on a pipe. The Dunhill over London (equally aligned) with the Made in England designation on the right side date the pipe to 1920-1922 according to John Loring’s, The Dunhill Briar Pipe book, page 11. The silver ferrule on the left had a AD in a diamond.

On the right side it was stamped MADE IN ENGLAND2 with a superscript underlined 2 after the D that further pins the date down to 1922 (1920 + 2 is the formula). Loring states on page 16  “ a pipe with  “D” with tails (first letter of Dunhill) and either no date code (most commonly found) dates to 1921. A pipe with a  2 with or without a “D” with tails dates to 1922.” Underneath that it was stamped Pat. America 1915 which I did not understand until I read Loring’s book (Page 12)  where he says “Inner tube patent numbers  or references also serve to denote the earliest the pipe could have been manufactured, e.g. an English patent reference  (PAT No 5861/12) would not have been stamped prior to the 1913 patent grant, nor a Canadian patent reference (PATENTED 1914) prior to the 1914 grant, nor a US patent reference  (PATENTED MARCH.9.15 or PAT. AMERICA 1915) prior to the 1915 grant.” Now I knew what I was dealing with concerning the PAT.AMERICA 1915 stamp. The number 53 following the stamping was the shape number for a bent billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2012/11/01/dunhill-pipe-shapes-collated-by-eric-w-boehm/). Jeff removed this beauty from the case and took photos of it in various configurations and from different angles. It is quite stunning even with the tarnish on the silver. It is going to cleanup really well. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl. The smooth rim top showed some darkening and damage as did the inner and outer edges of the bowl. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain even through the dirt and debris of almost 100 years.    The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. The marks on the silver are also clear and readable on the ferrule. The turned silver cap on the end of the military bit stem is also quite beautiful. With the information from the two sites and John Loring’s book I had a pretty clear idea on the background of the pipe. It was definitely an old timer and really was a once in a life time find. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe from top to stern. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights some great grain. The rim top looked very good and the inner and outer edge looked very good. The nicks on the outer edge lifted with the scrubbing. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.   I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The rim top  looked good. There were some spots on the surface and some scratches. The inner edge has some rough spots but it was okay for now. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the short stem and with the extension. It is a good looking pipe and very unique.I polished the smooth rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.  I was able to remove the damage on the top and edges.     I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I polished the scalloped silver ferrule with a jewelers cloth to remove any residual tarnish and also to protect it from future tarnish (at least for awhile). The interesting detail for me is that the ferrule is scallop and the end of the shank extension that holds the stem also is scalloped.With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the silver stem cap with a jewelers cloth that helps remove any residual tarnish and protects the silver.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. With the bowl and the short stem finished I put the pipe back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is an amazing little pipe. The dimensions of this part of the pipe are – Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the short version of the pipe is 1.13 ounces/32 grams. This once is a lifetime find – a 1922 Cased Dunhill Bruyere 53 Reading Pipe is joining the other pipes in my collection of Dunhills and will hold a place of honour while it is in my trust. One day soon I will enjoy a special bowl of tobacco in it and be transported to a slower paced time in history where I can enjoy a respite. With the pipe and short stem finished all that remained was to finish the shank extension that fit in the shank end of the pipe. The end that fit into the shank had the same end cap as the stem itself. The opposite end was fitted to receive the end cap of the stem. The tube between the caps appears to be hard rubber but I am not certain. Some of the pipes of this time period used albatross wing bones for the extension but this is not bone. I polished it with a jewelers cloth to remove residual tarnish in the turnings of the silver caps and polished the shank extension with Obsidian Oil.The extension tube itself is 7 ½ inches long. I took a few photos of the pipe next to the extension to give a sense of the size. I also took photos of the extension tube with the stem in place to show the look of it. Finally the last photos give a sense of the fully extended Bruyere Reading Pipe. With it installed on the pipe the length of the pipe is 12 inches. Height and other measurements remain as noted above. With the pipe finished I took it apart and put it carefully back in its case. The day will come (soon I hope) that I will take it out and smoke a bowl of some aged Virginia and enjoy the coolness of the smoke as I read a book on my front porch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beautiful piece of Dunhill Pipe Crafting History.

 

 

Dropped in at the Dunhill Deep End


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

This is the first and introductory blog by Kenneth. We have been working through his Grandfather’s pipes and others that he has purchased to help him learn the processes that I use to restore and refurbish pipes. He is a quick study and able student. Give his first blog a read and enjoy it. Thanks Kenneth and welcome to rebornpipes.

I must admit that I never thought that the first pipe I ever restored would be a Dunhill Shell Briar Bulldog. Talk about nerve-wracking! I figured I would start out on an old clunker of a pipe so that if I made a mess of it, there was no great loss. But Steve Laug insisted that this was the one I had work on first because it was, in fact, a microcosm of pipe restoration all in one little pipe. I want to express my gratitude to Steve for not only permitting me to post the story of this pipe’s restoration, but most especially for guiding me every step of the way through the process. The vagaries of life (thanks to Covid) necessitated several FaceTime and Zoom chats, but he was always generous, friendly, and helpful. Any compliments on this restoration are for him – any criticisms are for me.

This charming Dunhill Shell Briar Bulldog pipe belonged to my paternal grandfather and was one of seventeen pipes left to my father, and which he has now given to me. A little detective work over at http://www.pipephil.eu revealed that this Dunhill dates from 1937 – which would have made my grandfather 29 years old when it was made.He died in 1975, so this pipe has not been smoked for at least 45 years (and probably more). As a side note, while this restoration was ongoing, I also restored his Dunhill Rollagas lighter (dated to the mid-1950s), so that I could use it to light the pipe one day. In that pipe will be some very old tobacco that is also from my grandfather. I am not sure what the tobacco is, but it smells lovely. I have another two Dunhill pipes I inherited from my grandfather, but I will save those restorations for future posts! As you can see from these initial photos, this poor pipe had some serious issues! The front of the bowl had a large crack, reaching all the way from the rim to the heel. There was also another crack (albeit considerably smaller) on the opposite side of the bowl. Smaller it may have been, but no less daunting to me. There was some cleaning that needed to be done inside the shank and stem, but less than might have been expected from an 85-year-old pipe. The usual routine of isopropyl alcohol, pipe cleaners, Q-tips, etc. made short work of that. Unfortunately, I do not have a handy brother like Jeff Laug to help clean my pipes, so I did it myself. I learn by doing, so this was just as well.

After using both the Pipnet Reamer and the KleenReem, the bowl was stripped down to the bare briar. This afforded me a good look at the condition of the bowl and just how far the two cracks had penetrated the wood. The smaller crack was not any worse than it initially appeared, but the large crack went all the way to the underside of the bowl. I cleaned the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and that made a world of difference to the overall appearance of the wood, but not to the cracks, obviously. I prepared some J.B. Weld epoxy and filled the breach from the inside, ensuring that the epoxy did not ooze out to the front. I filled in the crack from the outside with a mixture of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive. This was a tricky business, as the crack varied from ‘gaping’ at the rim to essentially ‘imperceptible’ at the heel. After putting down some layers of briar dust and glue, I noticed that there were still some small gaps that only iPhone magnification could reveal, as seen here. These were soon mended and left to cure.Following this, some rustication was needed, and a brass-bristle brush was the tool I used. In fact, the brush was used several times – including after I applied some stain to the briar-glue repair. The stain was used in conjunction with the Before & After Restoration Balm, to help meld everything together. I must admit that I wish I could have done this step better – all I could see were flaws, but everyone else told me how much better it looked, especially when compared with how it began. These photographs show you that it wasn’t complete, but I guess it really was better. Once this had fully cured, I coated the entire inside of the bowl with a mixture of activated charcoal and my wife’s homemade yogurt. Once hardened, this provided a good, slightly rough surface for a new cake to build. Then it was time for the stem. It was in pretty good condition, considering its age. There were a couple of relatively minor tooth marks and the button needed some work. However, without doubt, restoring the stem was the most frustrating part of the restoration. It began easily enough, with the stem taking a swim in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. In order to address the chatter, I waved the flame of a BIC lighter over the mouthpiece. I also took some of the cyanoacrylate adhesive and filled in the deeper tooth marks. But then the tough stuff came: sanding, more sanding, then even more sanding. Did I mention the sanding? As you know from Steve’s similar work, I used 220, 400, and 600 sandpapers to wet-sand the stem. Then followed that with all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) – using Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad. The pictures only tell a fraction of the story. Quite frankly, my lack of experience was my undoing, as I had to do this entire sanding sequence twice over. It just did not look right the first time. In fact, I was not even convinced that it looked right the second time, but Steve reassured me (with his typical kindness) that I was merely suffering from the same sort of pipe perfectionism that he does – not to mention the fact that this pipe is 85 years old: it is not meant to look brand new! At some point, one has to stop or else one will simply sand the pipe away into oblivion!

At long last, I was at the point where I could throw down some more Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil, Before & After Restoration Balm, and Paragon II Wax. Microfibre cloths, horsehair shoe brushes, and buffing pads followed – all to provide a final product (hopefully) worthy of my beloved grandfather’s memory. This was certainly a labour of love and I look forward to firing up his 85-year-old Dunhill pipe, with his 65+ year-old Dunhill lighter, filled to the rim with his 50+ year-old tobacco. The dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 4⅝ inches; height 1⅝ inches; bowl diameter 1½ inches; chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is ⅞ of an ounce (or 27 grams).

Thank you very much for reading and I welcome and encourage your comments. Kenneth sent me this message and photo on Facebook.

This is my grandfather, Alfred Lieblich,  in Vienna in 1938. Look what’s in his mouth! Amazing!

Breathing Life into a 1960 Dunhill Bruyere 251 Group 3 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us in a group of pipes that we purchased from an Antique Mall on the Oregon Coast, Oregon, USA. It is a Dunhill Bruyere Straight Billiard that is in good condition. It is stamped both sides of the shank. On the left side it is stamped with the shape number 251 followed by Dunhill [over] Bruyere. On the right side it is stamped with 3 in a circle followed by A for Bruyere next to the bowl. That is followed by Made in [over] England0. Interpreting that stamp it is as follows: The 251 is the shape for a straight billiard. The Dunhill Bruyere is the finish which is corroborated the A at the end of the stamping. The 0 following the D of England gives the date the pipe was made and identifies it as 1960. The stamping is clear and readable. The age of the pipe and the oils in the finish has given the pipe a rich reddish brown finish. There is also some amazing grain that the shape follows well. The finish was dirty with dust ground into the surface of the bowl and shank. There was a thick cake in the bowl and tobacco debris stuck to the walls of the bowl. The rim top showed darkening and some lava on the surface. The vulcanite taper stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it.  He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the darkening and lava overflow on the rim top. There were also nicks around the outer edge of the bowl. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides.  The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the great grain on the pipe. It is a beauty under the grime and dust.   The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photos below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above. The fourth photo shows the white spot on the stem.   I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Root Briar Pipes to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Bruyere

The original finish produced (usually made using Calabrian briar), and a big part of developing and marketing the brand. It was the only finish from 1910 until 1917. A dark reddish-brown stain. Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red.

There was a link on the above site to a section specifically written regarding the Bruyere finish (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Bruyere). I turned there and have included the information from that short article below.

Initially, made from over century-old briar burls, classified by a “B” (denoted highest quality pipe); “DR” (denoted straight-grained) and an “A” (denoted first quality), until early 1915. After that, they became a high-end subset to the Dunhill ‘Bruyere’. The DR and B pipes, a limited production, they should be distinguished as hand-cut in London from burls as opposed to the Bruyere line which was generally finished from French turned bowls until 1917, when the Calabrian briar started to be used, but not completely. Only in 1920 Dunhill took the final step in its pipe making operation and began sourcing and cutting all of its own bowls, proudly announcing thereafter that “no French briar was employed”.

Bruyere pipes were usually made using Calabrian briar, a very dense and hardy briar that has a modest grain but does very well with the deep red stain.

“Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red. The Shell finish was the original sandblast with a near-black stain (though the degree to which it is truly black has varied over the years). Lastly, the Root finish was smooth also but with a light brown finish. Early Dunhill used different briars with different stains, resulting in more distinct and identifiable creations… Over the years, to these traditional styles were added four new finishes: Cumberland, Dress, Chestnut and Amber Root, plus some now-defunct finishes, such as County, Russet and Red Bark.”

There was also a link to a catalogue page that gave examples and dates that the various finishes were introduced (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Dunnypipescatalog-1.png). I turned to Pipephil’s dating guide to show how I arrived at the date of manufacture for this pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1a.html). I am including the chart that is provided there for the dating a pipe. I have drawn a red box around the section. Since the pipe I am working on has a suffix 0 that is raised superscript it points to the 1960 line on the chart below.I now knew that I was working on a Bruyere that came out in 1960. The shape of the pipe was one of many Billiards that Dunhill put out and that the #251 was a normal billiard shape with a taper stem.

I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had carried out his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake and cleaned the reaming up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and scrubbed it down with Soft Scrub All-Purpose cleaner to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very clean when I received it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the darkening on the rim top. It is roughened and slightly out of round. The stem came out looking quite good. There are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button but the oxidation was gone.  I took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. It is clear and readable as noted above.  I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on the damage on the inner edge of the bowl. It had darkening and some damage to the edge. There were burn and reaming damage marks on the edge from a previous pipeman. I worked it over with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a light bevel and remove and minimize the damage on the edge. When I finished with it, the bowl and the rim top looked much better. I polished the rim top and bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The briar began to take on a shine.   With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Dunhill Bruyere 251 Group 3 Billiard from 1960 is a beautiful looking piece of briar that has a shape that follows grain. It is a great looking pipe that came out looking even better after the cleanup. The Bruyere is an early finish that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The red and brown stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite taper stem adds to the mix. With the grime gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Bruyere 251 Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 29grams/1.02oz. It will soon be added to the British Pipe Makers section on the rebornpipes store. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

New Life for a 1999 Dunhill Chestnut 5134 Group 5 Brandy


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us in a group of pipes that we purchased from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. It is a Dunhill Chestnut Straight Brandy that was very dirty. It is stamped both sides of the shank. On the left side it is stamped with the shape number 5134 followed by Dunhill in an oval. On the right side it is stamped Chestnut [over] Made in England followed by the number 39. Interpreting that stamp it is as follows: The 5134 is the shape for a straight Brandy with a triangular shaped shank. The Dunhill Chestnut is the finish noted on the shank. The 39 following the D of England gives the date the pipe was made and identifies it as 1999. The stamping is clear and readable. The age of the pipe and the oils in the finish has given the pipe a rich reddish brown finish. There is also some amazing grain that the shape follows well. The finish was dirty with dust ground into the surface of the bowl and shank. There also appeared to a repair on top outer edge at the back of the bowl. There was a thick cake in the bowl and tobacco debris stuck to the walls of the bowl. The rim top showed darkening and some lava in on the surface and inner edge of the bowl. The Cumberland taper stem was oxidized and calcified. It had damage to the button surface on the top side where it was missing a chunk. There were also some repair marks ahead of the button on both sides where the repair person had used black CA to patch the tooth marks.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it.He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the darkening and lava overflow on the rim top. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and the repairs to both sides of the stem. You can also see the large chunk missing from the topside of the button edge. The stem had been previously repaired rather poorly using large rough black super glue patches.  The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the great grain on the pipe. It is a beauty under the grime and dust.   The stamping on the sides of the shank is shown in the photos below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above. The third photo shows the white spot on the stem.     I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Root Briar Pipes to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Chestnut – A rich, deep walnut colour complemented by the Cumberland mouthpiece – it was introduced in 1983 to commemorate the closing of the Cumberland Road warehouse. The same stain and stem material as used on the Cumberland, but on a smooth bowl. Like the Bruyere, the finish is smooth to the feel and will lighten in time to show off the grain, which is usually cross-grain top and bottom with birds-eye on the sides of the bowl. Irrespective of shape, size or finish, all Dunhill pipes are of one quality only – the finest.

Note: Always had the Cumberland mouthpieces fitted. Sometimes, a black mouthpiece it is possible, however, that this was a special request or that it was a replacement mouthpiece…

The shape chart below delineates the finish and the date that it was introduced on the market and how long it was made. The Chestnut came out in 1982 and continues to be made until the present.I turned to Pipephil’s dating guide to show how I arrived at the date of manufacture for this pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1a.html). I am including the chart that is provided there for the dating a pipe. I have drawn a red box around the section. Since the pipe I am working on has a 2 it points to the 1960+ suffix line on the chart below.I turned to Pipedia where there was a shape chart that could be used to interpret the 4 digit shape numbers like the one on this particular pipe. https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Shape_Chart#:~:text=The%20White%20Spot%20Chart%20%20%20Digit%201%3A,%2012%3A%20Chimney%20%208%20more%20rows%20). I have included the chart below.I now knew that I was working on a Chestnut that came out in 1999. The shape number is 5134. The first number (5) was the size of the pipe which in this case is a Group 5. The second digit (1) is the mouthpiece shape which in this case was a Standard or taper shaped stem. The third (3) and fourth (4) number identify the shape of the pipe. This is 34 which is the number for a Brandy shaped pipe.

I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had carried out his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake and cleaned the reaming up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very clean when I received it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the darkening on the rim top on the back of the bowl. It is roughened and chipped on the front and back side of the rim. The taper stem came out looking quite good other than the damage on the button and the black CA repairs on the top and underside of the stem.   I took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. It is clear and readable as noted above.    I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on the damage on the inner edge of the bowl. It had darkening and some damage to the edge. There were burn and knife marks on the edge from a previous pipeman. I worked it over with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a light bevel and remove and minimize the damage on the edge. When I finished with it, the bowl and the rim top looked much better.   I polished the rim top and bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I sanded and smoothed out the repair that had been done to the top outer edge of the rim on the back of the bowl at the same time. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The briar began to take on a shine.  I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.   With the bowl finished and cleaned up it was time to tackle the stem mess. I want to see if I could minimize the repair marks from the previous repair and also rebuild the button. Since it was Cumberland this was going to be a bit tricky.  I took photos of the stem before I started and marked the issues on it with blue arrows. The #1 is the chip out of the top edge of the button. The #2 and #3 are the tooth marks fills that were done with a large amount of black super glue. I would have used a clear CA glue to repair these and let the underlying Cumberland colours show through. However now I had to figure out a way to minimize them.  I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the airway. I rebuilt the button area with black Loctite 380. It is black but it is a small spot so I am hoping to be able to blend it in well with the rest of the Cumberland.  I removed the pipe cleaner once the repair had set and took a photo of the stem at this point. I used a rasp and small file to shape the button and cut the inner edge. I also flattened out the area of the previous repair to reduce it. There was also a dip in the mouthpiece on that side near that button that was a shallow trough so I cleaned up the taper to smooth out the transition with the files. I smoothed out the file marks and repairs and reshaped the button edge with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. Still lots of work to do but the shape is correct and the repair is not too bad. I still need to rework the tooth mark repairs on the top and underside some more.   I cleaned up the repair areas and used a black and a red Sharpie Pen to match the striations of the Cumberland. I let that cure and then put a light coat of clean CA glue on top of the areas to keep the blend in place. Once that cured I lightly sanded it with a 1500 grit micromesh pad. The result can be seen in the photos below.   Now it was time to polish the repairs. I polished the Cumberland with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This Dunhill Chestnut 5134 Brandy from 1999 is a beautiful looking piece of briar that has a shape that follows grain. It is a great looking pipe that came out looking even better after the cleanup. The Chestnut is a Dunhill that utilized a Walnut stain and a Cumberland taper stem. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition following the restoration. The brown stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished Cumberland taper stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the repaired stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Chestnut 5134 Brandy is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 47grams/1.66oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Breathing Life into a 1972 Dunhill Red Bark 6P F/T Group 4 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us in a group of pipes that we purchased from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. It is a Dunhill Red Bark Bent Bulldog that is in good condition. It is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. On the heel of the bowl it is stamped with the shape number 6P F/T followed by Dunhill [over] Red Bark followed by Made in England 12. That is followed by 4 in a circle followed by R/B for Red Bark. Interpreting that stamp it is as follows: The 6P is the shape for a bent saddle stem Bulldog and the F/T is the designation for the button shape – a Fish Tail. The Dunhill Red Bark is the finish which is corroborated the R/B at the end of the stamping. The 12 following the D of England gives the date the pipe was made and identifies it as 1972. The stamping is clear and readable. The age of the pipe and the oils in the sandblast finish has given the pipe a rich reddish brown finish. There is also some amazing grain that the shape follows well. The finish was dirty with dust around the nooks and crannies of the sandblast. There was a thick cake in the bowl and tobacco debris stuck to the walls of the bowl. The rim top showed darkening and some lava in the sandblast. The vulcanite saddle stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it.  He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the darkening and light lava overflow on the rim top. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides.  The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the deep sandblast grain on the pipe. It is a beauty under the grime and dust.    The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photos below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above. The third photo shows the white spot on the stem.   I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Red Bark Pipes to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Red Bark

Red Bark: Introduced in 1972, the Red Bark is a reddish stained sandblast, and is the most famous of Dunhill’s retired finishes. Originally, the stain was a medium red. A couple of years later the stain was changed to a brighter red, almost pinkish in colour. The almost pink colour caused pipe sales to plummet. In 1976, the stain was changed back to the original darker medium red finish. The Red Bark finish was officially retired in 1987. The County and Russet finishes have also been retired.

I turned to Pipephil’s dating guide to show how I arrived at the date of manufacture for this pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1a.html). I am including the chart that is provided there for the dating a pipe. I have drawn a red box around the section. Since the pipe I am working on has a 12 it points to the 1960+ suffix line on the chart below.I now knew that I was working on a Red Bark that came out in 1972 which was the first year that the line was introduced. It was retired in 1987 and was one of the most famous of Dunhill’s retired finishes. It also had the medium red stain of the first pipes introduced from Dunhill in the Red Bark line.

I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had carried out his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake and cleaned the reaming up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very clean when I received it.  I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the darkening on the rim top on the back right. It is roughened and chipped and out of round. The saddle stem came out looking quite good. There are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button as well as some remaining oxidation.     I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on darkening on the right rear of the rim top. I scrubbed it with a brass bristle wire brush to remove the darkening. I also scrubbed the front of the bowl where there was some darkening. After scrubbing it the bowl and the rim top looked much better.   With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. It turned out to be a 6mm filter stem. It had some underlying oxidation that needed to be dealt with. I put it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover and let it soak for half a day. I took it out of the bath, dried it off and scrubbed the remaining oxidation with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleanser.    I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Dunhill Red Bark 6P F/T Bent Bulldog is a beautiful sandblast with the unique Sandblast finish made in 1972. It is a great looking pipe that came out looking very good. The Red Bark finish has a great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The oils off the smoker’s hands and the mahogany/medium red stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite saddle stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished 6P F/T Red Bark Bulldog is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 37grams/1.31oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Breathing Life into a 1955 Dunhill Tanshell 48 F/T Group 4 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from a group of pipes that Jeff picked up on one of his pipe hunts along the Oregon Coast, USA. It is a Dunhill TanShell Briar Bulldog that is in great condition. It is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. On the heel of the bowl it is stamped with the shape number 48F/T followed by Dunhill [over] Tanshell Briar followed by Made in England 5. That is followed by 4 in a circle followed by T for Tanshell. Interpreting that stamp it is as follows: The 48 is the shape for a straight saddle stem Bulldog and the F/T is the designation for the button shape – a Fish Tail stem. The Dunhill Tanshell is the finish which is corroborated the T at the end of the stamping. The 5 following the D of England gives the date the pipe was made and identifies it as 1955. The stamping is clear and readable. The age of the pipe and the oils in the sandblast finish has given the pipe a rich medium brown finish. There is also some amazing grain that the shape follows well. The finish was dirty with dust around the nooks and crannies of the sandblast. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. The vulcanite saddle stem was oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the lava overflow. The photos of the stem show the light oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides.  The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the deep sandblast grain on the pipe. It is a beauty under the grime and dust.    The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photo below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above. The third photo shows the white spot on the stem.   I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Tanshell Pipes to get a bit of background on the Duhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Tanshell

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

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

I have also included a chart from the site from Dunhill spelling out the Standard Pipe Finishes and giving short information and a timeline.I turned to Pipephil’s dating guide to show how I arrived at the date of manufacture for this pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1a.html). I am including the chart that is provided there for the dating a pipe. I have drawn a red box around the section. Since the pipe I am working on has a smaller raise 5 it points to the 1950+ suffix line on the chart below.I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had carried out his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake and cleaned the reaming up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very clean when I received it.  I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the damage on the inner edge on the left front. It is roughened and chipped and out of round. The saddle stem came out looking quite good. There are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. It is clear and readable with some faint spots. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.I decided to start the restoration on this one by working on the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the rim a slight bevel to bring it back into round.  While the finished rim edge is not perfect it is far better. I used a brass bristle tire brush to clean up the darkening on the rim top and clean up the sandblast portion.    With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem to lift them up. I was able to lift them to the point that I would be able to polish out those that remained with micromesh pads.    I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Dunhill 48F/T Tanshell Bulldog is a beautiful sandblast with the unique Sandblast finish made in 1955. It is a great looking pipe that came out looking very good. The Tanshell finish has a great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The oils off the smoker’s hands and the tan stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite saddle stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished 48 F/T Tanshell Briar Bulldog is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 29grams/1.02oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Breathing Life into a 1969/74 Dunhill Shell Briar 142 F/T Group 4S Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from a group of pipes that Jeff picked up on a recent pipe hunt in Utah. It is a Dunhill Shell Briar Dublin that is in decent condition. It is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the heel and shank. On the heel of the bowl it is stamped with the shape number 142F/T followed by Dunhill [over] Shell Briar followed by Made in England 9 and superscript 14. That is followed by 4 in a circle followed by S for shell. Interpreting that stamp it is as follows: The 142 is the shape for a Dublin and the F/T is the stem shape – a Fish Tail stem. The Dunhill Shell Briar is the finish which is corroborated the S at the end of the stamping. The 9 and the superscript 14 following the D of England gives the date the pipe was made and identifies it as 1969 and a 1974. This means that the pipe was made in 1969 and sold in 1974. The stamping is clear and readable. The pipe has a mix of black, cordovan and brown stains on a sandblast finish and some amazing grain that the shape follows well. The finish was dirty with dust around the nooks and crannies of the sandblast. There was a cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top. The rim top and edges appeared to be in very good condition. The taper stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it.     He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show how clean they were and of the stem to show the light oxidation and lack of damages to the surface of the stem on either side.    The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the deep sandblast grain on the pipe. It is a beauty under the grime and dust.  The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photo below. It looks very good and readable. It reads as noted and explained above. Jeff captured the overall look in the first photo followed by some closer photos of sections of the stamp so you can read it. I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Root Briar to get a bit of background on the Duhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

Shell

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

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

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

I have also included a chart from the site from Dunhill spelling out the Standard Pipe Finishes and giving short information and a timeline.I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had carried out his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake and cleaned the reaming up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very good when I received it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. The rim top and edges look very good. The bowl is clean. The stem came out looking quite good. There are some tooth marks and chatter on both sides and some remaining oxidation.   I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. It is clear and readable with some faint spots.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.Since the bowl was in such excellent condition I started the restoration by rubbing the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.      I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem to lift them up. I was able to lift them all and sanding with micromesh pads would polish out the remaining chatter.    I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      This Dunhill Shell Briar 142 F/T Group 4 Dublin is a beautiful sandblast with the unique Dunhill sandblast finish made in 1969 and sold in 1974. It is a great looking pipe that is in almost new condition. The dark finish that is identified as a black stain highlights some great grain in the sandblast around the bowl sides and the heel. It is a less rugged sandblast on this one than on others Dunhill Shell Briars. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the rim top looks very good. The mix of stains works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite taper replacement stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished 142 F/T Shell Briar Dublin is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your rack. Thanks for your time.

 

I was Gifted an LB Stem for my Dunhill Shell Briar LB F/T Chunky Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

When I restored this Dunhill Shell Briar LB F/T Chunky Billiard I closed the blog asking that if anyone came across a stem for an LB that they would be willing to part with to contact me as I really wanted a Dunhill stem on this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/07/26/breathing-life-into-a-1968-dunhill-shell-briar-lb-f-t-group-4-billiard/). The pipe is a beautiful sandblasted Billiard with the unique Dunhill Sandblast finish made in 1968 (since that time I am leaning toward a 1958 date for the pipe). It is a great looking pipe that is in almost new condition. The dark finish that is identified as a black stain highlights some great grain around the bowl sides and the heel. It has some great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the repaired area on the front outer edge of the rim top looks very good. The mix of stains works well to highlight the grain. The polished black replacement vulcanite taper replacement stem adds to the mix. I had drilled and inserted a blue dot on the top of the stem to get by while I hunted for a proper stem. Here are some photos of the pipe once I had finished the restoration of both the bowl and stem. Not too long ago I was on one of the Facebook pipe groups and David Andrew Goostree of Banjo Bob’s Fine Pipes posted a picture of a Dunhill LB with a ruined bowl – vertical cracks all around the bowl that he was willing to part with. I quickly wrote him a note to see what he wanted for it as I had the above LB that needed the stem from his ruined bowl. We exchanged a few messages back and forth and he sent the pipe to me. It arrived in Canada yesterday (Monday) and David had included a small sample of Old Gowrie in the box.  Here are a few pictures that David sent me of the pipe before he sent it.   I took a photo of the new stem next the pipe and replacement stem and then of the two stems side by side. The look and shape is similar. I tried the stem on the shank of the LB bowl that I had and the fit was perfect in the shank. The bowl I have has a flat bottom so I would need to flatten the bottom of the stem to match the shank but other than that the fit was good. I took some photos of the fit to send to David. I had already started the shaping of the underside because I was impatient to see what it would look like. I am including those photos below so you can see the fit in the shank. I used a rasp/flat file to flatten the bottom of the stem to match the flow of the shank. I smoothed out the flattened area with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the file marks in the vulcanite.The stem had some tooth marks in the surface on both sides ahead of the button. I “painted” the surface with the flame of a Bic lighter and the tooth marks lifted. I would easily be able to sand the remnants out with micromesh. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.     With the stem fitting work finished I put the new stem on the Dunhill LB and gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I took photos of the LB with the stem I received from David and I really like the look of an original Dunhill stem. Have a look! I am looking forward to loading the bowl with some of the Old Gowrie that David sent along and taking it for its initial smoke. Thanks David for the stem and thank you all for reading this update.

Restoring a Tired and Cobbled Dunhill Shell Patent Era Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from one of Jeff’s hunts. It is a Bent Bulldog with a copper/brown variegated acrylic stem and a rugged sandblast around the bowl. It has an oxblood/brown/black finish that highlights the grain in the sandblast. When I first took the pipe out of the box to work on it this morning I thought that the blast reminded me of early Dunhill pipes but the band and the acrylic stem made me not connect it to Dunhill. Later when I turned the pipe over to try to decipher the stamping with a light and lens I was surprised that it was indeed a Dunhill. It is stamped on the flat underside of the shank and reads P12 followed by Dunhill Shell [over] Pat. No. with the numbers and the rest of the stamping blurred out with what looks like the previous owner’s initials DAV or DAN carved by hand.  So it is a Patent Shell with no way of dating it and having an aftermarket band and acrylic stem. The acrylic stem and silver band were well fitted to the shank and matched the angles. From my experience it is unusual to see this kind of workmanship in an aftermarket stem and band. It is always a shame to me when a very old and well-made pipe is changed this much! Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup.He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake and the heavy lava overflow on the top. It is an incredibly dirty pipe. He also captured the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near the button.    He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the deep blast around the bowl and the amount of grime ground into the surface of the briar. He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank and the carved initials near the stem/shank junction. He also took a photo of the stamping on the silver band on the shank. I turned Pipephil’s helpful Dunhill section to see if I could at least establish parameters for the age of the pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/index.html).

From there I knew that the Dunhill Shell was introduced in 1917 and the Patent stamped lasted from 1920 until 1954.

From the shape lettering chart I learned that the P stamp was correct for a ½ Bent Bulldog (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/shapes-l.html_).

I turned to Pipedia and looked up the specifics of the Shell line. (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Shell)

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

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

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

I knew that the Dunhill Shell pipe I was working was made between 1920-1954. I probably would not get much closer than that for a date on the pipe. I also knew that the previous owner had not only personalized the pipe with his initials but had also added a Sterling Silver band for decoration (no cracks or damage to the shank visible) and a variegated acrylic stem that looked very 1970s. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done his usual thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. They cleaned up really well and the burn damage on the top of the rim at the front and left side are visible. The rest of the rim top is worn with the sandblast smoothed out. The inner edge of the bowl had some low spots and damage that would need to be addressed. The acrylic replacement stem was well crafted and fit very well with the shank and angles of the shank. The stem surface looked very good with light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button.  I took a photo of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. It read as noted above.  You can see the wear on the stamping and the DAV initials just ahead of the tarnish silver band.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped bent Bulldog shape that looks craggy and inviting.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl and gave it a slight bevel to minimize the damage. It also brought the bowl back into round.   Since it was clean and looked good I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the sandblast bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. It helped to give depth to the stain around the bowl.  The final buffing would bring the pipe alive. I polished the Sterling Silver band with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the remaining oxidation that was on the silver.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the tooth chatter and marks and blend them into the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This beautifully sandblasted Dunhill Shell Bent Bulldog with a variegated copper and brown acrylic replacement saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I was able to minimize damages on the edge of the bowl and rim. I gave a bevel to the inside edge of the bowl to remove the burn damage and out of round bowl. The rich Shell coloured finish came alive with the polishing and waxing. The dimensions of the sandblast really popped. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Dunhill Shell Bulldog is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Even though the stem and band are aftermarket it still looks good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!