Tag Archives: Dunhill Pipes

New Life for a 1964 Dunhill Shell Briar 250F/T 2S Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a fellow in California who I have repaired a few pipes for over the years. He said he was sending me a couple of pipes to work on. The box arrived a few weeks ago and when I opened it I found this message in the box.

Hi Steve — Here are the two pipes as promised. The Dunhill Shell should be an easy resto, but the Barling’s Fossil is another story…. Would like to keep the original finish on the stummels and shanks of both if possible… thanks — Scott

I decided to take a break from Bob Kerr’s Estate for a bit and work on Scott’s pipes. I took the Dunhill out first. I looked it over to check out its condition and what needed to be done with it. The finish was dirty but in decent condition. The edges of the rim top were in good condition though the top itself was caked in lava overflow from the bowl. The bowl had a thick cake inside and remnants of tobacco stuck to the walls. The stem looked good – not a tooth mark of note and only a bit of tooth chatter. There was some calcification on the first inch of the stem on both sides. The stem was also oxidized and dirty. The slot in the button was almost clogged up with tars and debris. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show the condition of the bowl and rim before I started working on it. The rim top looks pretty good. There is some thick lava filling in the sandblast of the rim but the edges look very good. The cake in the bowl is quite thick and hard so the bowl walls should be in good condition. I also took close up photos of the stem surface before I did the cleanup.    The stamping on the underside of the shank is in great shape. It reads 250F/T on the heel of the bowl. That is followed by DUNHILL over SHELL BRIAR. That is followed by Made in England with the superscript 4 and a Circle 2S.Using the information on pipephil’s site I was able to interpret the stamping on the underside of the pipe (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/shell-briar1.html). The 250 F/T stamp tells me the pipe is a shape number 250 while the F/T tells me that the stem is a fish tail stem. The Shell Briar stamp refers to the sandblast finish. The number 4 following the Made in England stamp identifies the date as 1964. The circled 2 is the Group bowl size. The S is the stamping for the Shell Briar finish. http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/shell-briar1.html

With that in mind I turned to work on this pipe. I reamed the bowl to remove the cake on the walls and the debris of tobacco shards that still remained. I used a PipNet pipe reamer with the first two cutting heads to start the process. I followed that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remaining cake in the bottom portion of the bowl and near the entry of the airway into the chamber. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. It smooths out the walls and also cleans up any light damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The bowl surface was dirty so I decided to clean the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to remove the debris in the finish and the lava in the grooves of the blast on the rim top. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime. The grain really began to stand out clearly. It was a beautiful piece of briar. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean off the debris that was still in the grain on the rim top. Once I had it clean I wiped it off with alcohol on a cotton pad. I used a Walnut stain pen to touch up the stain on the worn outer edges of the bowl and the rim top. I mixed in some black Sharpie pen to blend it to match the bowl colour.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I am happy with the blend of the stain on the right side and the overall look of the bowl at this point. Now the bowl was finished except for the final polishing. Once the externals of the stem were cleaned I turned my attention to the internals. I cleaned out the mortise and airway to the bowl and in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned both until the cleaners came out white. It was a dirty pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention back to the stem. I also sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the vulcanite and removed the rest of the oxidation on the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching.    I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth.I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. Scott was correct in his note that this was a straight forward restoration. Even so, I am finally on the homestretch with this pipe and I really look forward to the final look when it is put back together and polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish to begin the shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The cross grain and birdseye grain that show up in the polished sandblasted bowl looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This 1964 Dunhill Shell Briar  250F/T Straight Group 2 Size Billiard was a fun pipe to work on. It really has that classic Dunhill Billiard look in a Shell Briar finish that catches the eye. The combination of red and black stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand and I think that as it heats with smoking that over time the finish will darken and look even better. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I look forward to hearing what Scott thinks of it once he receives it. I have one more of his pipes to finish before I mail them to him. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

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Back to Bob Kerr’s Estate – a Dunhill Bruyere 0313 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

With this Dunhill Bruyere I am turning again to work on Bob Kerr’s estate. This is the third of the smooth pipes in his Dunhill Collection. I am cleaning them for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection along with the Dunhills are a good bevy of Petersons, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I sorted the pipes into groups of the various brands and had a box of 25 different Dunhill pipes in different shapes, styles and sizes. I decided to work on the Dunhills first. It was a great chance to see the shape variety up close and personal. The photo below shows the box of Dunhill pipes.With the completion of the restoration on this one there are only 9 more Dunhills of the original 25 left to work on – all smooth finished pipes in a variety of shapes. I went through the box of the remaining smooth Dunhills shown above and chose a beautiful little straight billiard. It is stamped 0313 followed by Dunhill over Bruyere on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped Made in England 16 which means it was made in 1976. I wanted to know more about the shape stamp 0313 so I turned to Pipephil’s site for help. The link is as follows – http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/shapes.html. From there I was able to decipher the number stamp on the pipe.

Dunhill pipes are stamped with a four digit code.

Digit 1: (from 1 to 6) denotes the size of the pipe (the group).

Digit 2: denotes the style of the mouthpiece (0,1=tapered, 2=saddle). Digit 3 and 4: denote the generic pipe shape (in yellow in the chart on top).

Example: 5102

(5 = size | 1 = tapered stem | 02 = Bent). When 5 digits occur, the meaning of the 4 first remain the same

In this case of the pipe I have in hand I believe the numbering system is actually reverse of what is spelled out above. The first two digits 03 refer to the Dunhill shape of a billiard. The second digit 1 designates the style of stem – in this case it is a tapered stem. The last number is a 3 which designates the size of the pipe – a Group 3.

Here is a summary of the information I gathered regarding the numbering on this pipe. The number 0313 breaks down as follows: the 03=straight billiard |1= tapered stem | 3= size of the pipe, a Group 3.

The smooth Bruyere finish is dirty and faded on the right side, but like the other pipes in Bob’s collection there is something quite beautiful about the birdseye and cross grain on the pipe. The bowl had a thick cake and thick lava overflows from the bowl onto the rim top. The stem is oxidized and has tooth marks and chatter near the button. There is some calcification on the first inch of the stem ahead of the button and there is some light damage to the top of the button. I took pictures of the pipe before I started working on it. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show what I was dealing with. This Bruyere Billiard had some serious cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. It was a real mess. It was hard to assess damage on the inner edge of the bowl due to the cake and lava. I would know more once I had reamed it and removed the lava coat. The stem was dirty, oxidized, calcified and had a lot of tooth chatter on the top and underside for about an inch ahead of the button.I took a photo of the stamping on both sides of the shank. The stamping was very sharp and readable and confirms the information above. The left side reads clearly with the shape number 0313 next to the Bruyere stamp. The stamping on the right side is clear and the D of England is followed by 16 which identifies the pipe as made in 1976.Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them. Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

I have included a photo of one of Bob’s wood carvings to give you an idea of what he daughter wrote about above. You can see his artistry in the carving that is patterned after British Columbia’s Coastal First Nations people. To me this is a sea otter but perhaps a reader may enlighten us.

Having already worked on other pipes from Bob’s estate I think I understood how he used and viewed his pipes. I had learned to tell which pipes were his favoured ones and which were his work horses. He really loved his billiards. I could get a sense of the ones that accompanied him into his carving shop. I think this Bulldog also was one that went into the shop and I can almost imagine him reaming it out with a carving knife. In many ways it was as if he was standing over my shoulder while I cleaned up his pipes.

With that in mind I turned to work on this pipe. I reamed the bowl to remove the cake on the walls and the debris of tobacco shards that still remained. I used a PipNet pipe reamer with the first to cutting heads to start the process. I followed that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remaining cake in the bottom portion of the bowl and near the entry of the airway into the chamber. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. It smooths out the walls and also cleans up any light damage to the inner edge of the bowl. I scraped the rim top and removed the thick lava coat in the rim with the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall knife. I scrubbed it down with saliva on a cotton pad until the rim top was clean. The finish was quite lifeless once I had removed the debris buildup but it looked pretty decent otherwise. I think that the lava served to protect the rim top and edges because once it was removed they looked to be in decent condition. There was some light damage to the front inner edge and a bit of darkening but overall it was in good shape.I worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove some of the darkening. The rim top definitely looks better than when I started the process.The stain on the right side of the bowl was quite faded and in the light showed that much of it had been rubbed off. I mixed two different stain pens (Cherry and Maple) to match to colour of the rest of the Bruyere bowl. The colour came out very well and the pipe looked fresh. I set the bowl aside to let the stain dry before buffing and polishing it. The first picture shows it after staining and the second after buffing with a microfiber cloth.I decided to address the stem that had been soaking. I had put the stem in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer to soak overnight (Photo 1 below). When I returned home from work (Photo 2 below), I took the stem out of the bath and rinsed it with warm water to remove the solution. I blew through the stem to clean out the insides and rinsed them with water as well. I rubbed the stem dry with a microfiber cloth to remove the remnants of oxidation. I took the following photos to show the condition of the stem at this point (Photos 3 and 4 below) the difference is quite remarkable. The majority of the oxidation is gone as is the calcification. Once the externals of the stem were cleaned I turned my attention to the internals of the pipe. I scraped the mortise with a small pen knife to break up the hardened oils and tars. Once I had removed them I cleaned out the mortise and airway to the bowl and in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned both until the cleaners came out white. It was a dirty pipe. With the internals cleaned I went back to the externals of the bowl. I polished the restained right side with a microfiber cloth to work the stains together to blend them into the remainder of the bowl. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I am happy with the blend of the stain on the right side and the overall look of the bowl at this point. Now the bowl was finished except for the final polishing. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention back to the stem. I also sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching. The two papers combined do a great job removing the tooth chatter and remaining oxidation left behind after the stem soak. I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth. I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I am finally on the homestretch with this pipe and I really look forward to the final look when it is put back together and polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The cross grain and birdseye grain that show up in the polished bowl looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This 1976 Dunhill Bruyere 0313 Straight Billiard presented some challenges in the restoration process but it was a fun pipe to work on. It really has that classic Dunhill Billiard look in a Bruyere finish that catches the eye. The combination of red and black stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand and I think that as it heats with smoking that over time the finish will darken and look even better. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you would like to carry on Bob’s legacy let me know by email or message on Facebook. I still have 8 more Dunhill pipes with smooth finishes – Root Briar, Bruyere etc. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Back to Bob Kerr’s Estate – a Dunhill Bruyere 48FT Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

With this Dunhill Bruyere I am turning again to work on Bob Kerr’s estate. This is the second of the smooth pipes in his Dunhill Collection. I am cleaning them for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection along with the Dunhills are a good bevy of Petersons, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting.

I sorted the pipes into groups of the various brands and had a box of 25 different Dunhill pipes in different shapes, styles and sizes. I decided to work on the Dunhills first. It was a great chance to see the shape variety up close and personal. The photo below shows the box of Dunhill pipes.With the completion of the restoration on this one there are only 9 more Dunhills of the original 25 left to work on – all smooth finished pipes in a variety of shapes. I went through the box of the remaining smooth Dunhills shown above and chose a beautiful little straight Bulldog. It is stamped 48 over F/T followed by Dunhill over Bruyere on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped Made in England followed by 0 and a subscript1 Circle 4A – Group four size Bruyere made in 1960 and sold in 1961. The rich Bruyere finish is very dirty and there is a thick coat of lava on the out of round rim top. The inner edge of the rim is damaged on the front side of the pipe. The smooth Bruyere finish is dirty but like the other pipes in Bob’s collection there is something quite beautiful about the birdseye and cross grain on the pipe. The bowl had a thick cake and as mentioned above, thick lava overflows from the bowl onto the rim top. After cleaning I will know more. The diamond shank flows into a Fish Tail (FT) saddle stem that is oxidized and has tooth marks and chatter near the button. There is some calcification on the first inch of the stem ahead of the button and there is some light damage to the top of the button. I took pictures of the pipe before I started working on it. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show what I was dealing with. This Bruyere Bulldog had some damage on the inner edge of the bowl toward the front as can be seen in the photo. The cake in the bowl was quite thick and the lava on the rim top was also thick. The stem was dirty, oxidized, calcified and had a lot of tooth chatter on the top and underside for about an inch ahead of the button.I took a photo of the stamping on both sides of the shank. The stamping was very sharp and readable and confirms the information above. There is a little sloppiness to the second number stamp following the D in England. Under the lens it looks clearly like a 0 followed by a 1 that is dropped down below. In the photo there is some sloppiness to the stamp. The one has a slant and some nicks before and after so it looks almost like a 7 but I think it is a 1.Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them. Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

I have included a photo of one of Bob’s wood carvings to give you an idea of what he daughter wrote about above. You can see his artistry in the carving that is patterned after British Columbia’s Coastal First Nations people. To me this is a sea otter but perhaps a reader may enlighten us.

Having already worked on other pipes from Bob’s estate I think I understood how he used and viewed his pipes. I had learned to tell which pipes were his favoured ones and which were his work horses. He really loved his billiards. I could get a sense of the ones that accompanied him into his carving shop. I think this Bulldog also was one that went into the shop and I can almost imagine him reaming it out with a carving knife. In many ways it was as if he was standing over my shoulder while I cleaned up his pipes.

With that in mind I turned to work on this pipe. I reamed the bowl to remove the cake on the walls and the debris of tobacco shards that still remained. I used a PipNet pipe reamer to start the process. I followed that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remaining cake in the conical bottom of the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. It smooths out the walls and also gives a good start to the process of bringing the inner edges back to round. I cleaned up the rim top and removed the thick lava coat in the rim. I used the Savinelli Fitsall knife to scrape away the high spots of lava and a scrubbing pad to continue work on the rim top and remove the buildup there. The rim was quite damaged with the out of round section on the front of the inner edge and the burn mark that was there as well. It was going to take some careful work giving the edge a bit of a bevel to bring it back to round. The damage to the rim was very bothersome to me and in my opinion made an otherwise beautifully finished little Bulldog an eyesore. This is where I am sure some may differ with my decision but I decided to address the damage. I topped the rim on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the damage to the rim edge on the front. I topped it on a medium and a fine sanding sponge to remove the scratches and smooth out the rim top. Once I had flattened the rim top and removed some of the damage, I worked over the front inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I followed that by sanding the edge with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. Through the process I was able to remove much of the damage. The rim top definitely looks better.Now comes the hardest part of the process in my opinion. It will either make the pipe look refreshed and beautiful or it will make it look very tacky and poorly done. I mixed three different stain pens and a black Sharpie pen to match to colour of the Bruyere stain. I used a Cherry, Maple and Mahogany stain pen – blending them together rather than letting each one dry. The colour is very close. I set the bowl aside to let the stain dry and put the stem in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer to soak. That done I turned off the lights and called it a night.In the morning I took the stem out of the bath and rinsed it with warm water to remove the solution. I blew through the stem to clean out the insides and rinsed them with water as well. I rubbed the stem dry with a microfiber cloth to remove the remnants of oxidation. I took the following photos to show the condition of the stem at this point.I then picked up the bowl to examine the stain and get a feel for what it looked like in the morning light. It would need some polishing and touch up but the colour was looking very good to my eye. The inner edge of the rim also looked a lot better than it did when I began. Now to polish and blend the colours a bit!I decided to let the polishing wait and turned my attention to the internals of the pipe. I cleaned out the shank and airway to the bowl and in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned both until the cleaners came out white. It was a dirty pipe.I polished the rim top with a microfiber cloth to work the stains together to blend it and touched up the light areas with a stain pen. I repeat the polishing with the cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I am happy with the blend of the stain on the rim top and the overall look of the bowl at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I also sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching. The two papers combined do a great job removing the tooth chatter and remaining oxidation left behind after the stem soak. I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth. I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The cross grain and birdseye grain that show up in the polished bowl looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This 1960 Dunhill Bruyere 48 F/T Straight Bulldog presented some challenges in the restoration process but it was a fun pipe to work on. It really has that classic Dunhill Bulldog look in a Bruyere finish that catches the eye. The combination of red and black stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand and I think that as it heats with smoking that over time the finish will darken and look even better. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. If you would like to carry on Bob’s legacy let me know by email or message on Facebook. I still have 9 more Dunhill pipes with smooth finishes – Root Briar, Bruyere etc. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

An Easy Sprucing up of a 1949 Dunhill Shell # 52 F/T


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Believe you me friends, this is FUN!! Being able to work on different pipes, be able to choose your project, choose a brand you wish to work on, is an exhilarating experience for me. Prior to the Mumbai Bonanza striking me, I was restricted mostly to working on my inherited collection of pipes, each complete with its stem challenges and similar stummel condition and was getting slightly monotonous to say the least.

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Mr. Steve, and struck a deal with a trash collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot.  This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brand pipes and some mediocre pipe brands. Overall, with seven Dunhills, a Preben Holm #1, a couple of Made in England Pete System pipes, Charatan’s, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had hit a huge jack pot!!! Hence, I like to call this find as “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a smallish full bent Dunhill Shell billiard, and is marked in pastel blue circle in the picture below (the ones circled in red and yellow are completed projects). This is a beautiful deeply sandblasted billiard with a lovely tactile feel in the hand. The play of dark red brown hues on the sandblast makes for a visual treat. It is stamped on a smooth surface on the foot and the underside of the shank with the shape number 52 followed by F/T followed by DUNHILL Shell Made in England 9 (9 is underlined) 0 all in a straight line over PATENT No 417574/34 followed by an encircled 3 at the shank end. This stamping indicates that this pipe is a fishtailed group 3 sized shell and dates this pipe to being manufactured in 1949 and sold in 1950.  The Trademark Dunhill White Dot adorns the top of the vulcanite stem. The stampings are deep, crisp and clear.With this information, I move ahead with the restoration of this beautiful sandblasted Dunhill bent billiard.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber has a thick layer of even and smooth cake which indicates that the pipe has been well used but also well cared for by its previous Steward. From what I can see, the chamber walls appear to be without any damage. The chamber is odorless. There is an overflow of lava on the blasted rim top surface. The inner and outer rim edges appear to be in pristine condition. The mortise is clean and so is the shank airway. The stummel boasts of some beautiful deep sandblast pattern all around. It is dirty with grime and oils filling in much of the craggy finish. The briar, in this condition also, looks amazing. I can’t wait to see after I have worked on it. The round shank of the bent billiard flows into a bent tapered stem which has a flare, like a fish tail, at the button end and hence the stamp F/T. The vulcanite stem shows significant damage to the button end with deep bite marks on both upper and lower surface of the stem. The lip is also severely damaged and will have to be reshaped. In this project, repairs to the damaged stem will be a major challenge, however if compared to previous stem repairs, this should be a cake walk.

THE PROCESS
Since the stem has significant damage, and from my experience of stem repairs, this will be time consuming and laborious part and hence I start this project by tackling the stem first

Now that I was clear about the path to be followed, I first flame both the surfaces of the stem with a Bic lighter. The heat from the flame raises the vulcanite to the surface and takes care of the tooth chatter that was seen earlier. I sand the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to get rid of the oxidation, have a clear idea of the areas which require fill and its extent while providing a smooth surface for the intended fill. I cleaned out the internals of the stem with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Once I was satisfied with the internal cleaning, I wiped the stem surface, particularly the damaged button end, with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove any traces of dirt and grime.To begin the stem repairs, I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and generously applied it over the damaged surface and set it aside for curing over night. Before moving ahead, I would like to mention here that I had applied this mix to achieve sufficient thickness which would help during the filing and sanding while shaping the button and achieving the correct stem profile.While the stem repair was set aside to cure, I moved ahead to deal with the stummel repairs. I start the reaming with a size 1 head of the PipNet reamer and progress to size 2 head. I further clean the chamber with a folded piece of 180 grits sand paper to sand out the remaining traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. Using my fabricated knife, I gently scrapped away the lava overflow. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. This also eliminated all traces of old smells from previous usage. The walls of the chamber were solid with no damage. Continuing with the cleaning regime, using a soft brass wired brush I gently scraped away the thick lava coat in the blast of the rim. With a hard bristled tooth brush and dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the sandblast finish on the stummel and the rim top. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth and set it aside to dry out naturally. The stummel looks fresh and clean. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful contrasting hues colors that are unique to this sandblast pipe, on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. After I had applied the balm, the rim top surface appeared too darkened and unclean. I was not happy with the way the rim top looked at this stage and decided to further clean it. I scrapped the rim top surface with a brass wired brush with a bit more pressure than I normally apply. The rim surface appeared clean as can be seen in the picture below. I reapplied the balm, hoping that the surface would look clean with the sandblast patterns showing themselves proudly. But alas!! The rim top surface appeared as before, blackened and unclean. I was at my wits end when after repeated cleaning with the brass brush with increasing pressure each time, the rim top surface appeared as before, dark and unclean. Mind you readers, being a sandblasted surface, topping really was not an option that I desired to adopt. I let the rim top surface be, satisfied that it was clean and sans any old lava overflow. In my exuberance to appreciate the beautiful and rugged patterns on the stummel caused by sandblasting, I missed out on cleaning the mortise and the shank airway. This is what exactly I addressed at this stage. Using bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol, I first moistened the oils, tars and gunk in the mortise. Thereafter, with my fabricated spatula, I scrapped out all the tars and oils from the mortise. As I progressed with my cleaning, eventually the pipe cleaners started coming out clean indicating that the shank internals are clean.I set the stummel aside and turned my attention to the stem repair. The fill had cured nicely and I moved ahead and began the process of filing and shaping the button end with a flat head needle file. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite. The repairs have blended in very well and the stem now looks shiny black and beautiful. The internals of the stem was once again cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners to clear the airway of all the debris resulting due to the sanding. The finished stem is shown below. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further.The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant. The deeply sandblasted surface proudly displays the contrasting dark brown hues which was the hallmark of Dunhill Shell pipes with a nice tactile feel in the hand. It surely is one of the best looking sandblasted pipes and will find a place of pride in my humble collection. As and when I load this pipe with my favorite tobacco (I love my English blends…) and sip my scotch, I wish this dude could tell me all about its past life!! Ah, this would be bliss…cheers!

Breathing Life into a 1962 Dunhill Shell Briar 591 F/T Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the benefits of the rebornpipes blog is that more and more there are individuals contacting Jeff and me with either single or multiple pipes for sale. The current pipe on the table came to us in that fashion. The pipe was being sold on an auction and a friend referred him to Jeff. He contacted Jeff about the pipe he had and sent along some photos. He had a price in mind that worked for us and soon the beautiful Dunhill Shell Briar Oom Paul on the left was on its way to Jeff. I have included the photos of the pipe that he sent us to look at. They a pretty clear picture of the condition of the pipe.

The pipe was more dusty than dirty, but the finish was in excellent condition. The Shell Briar sandblast finish was rugged, craggy and quite beautiful. The rim top was clean with no damage to the inner or outer edge of the bowl. The bowl had a light cake but was not thick and there was no lava overflow on the rim top. The stem was quite worn with tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside ahead of the button. There was some light oxidation and some calcification on the surface for the first inch of the stem.

The pipe was stamped on the underside of the shank. It read 591 F/T followed by Dunhill over Shell Briar. Next to that it was stamped Made in England with a 2 following the D in England. Finally the pipe was stamped with a Circle 4 S next to the stem/shank junction. The second photo below was included by the seller. It appeared in the photo that the stamping was not strong. We would have to see once it was in hand. What I could see was that the 591 F/T stamp was not visible but the seller said it was there. That stamp identified the pipe as an Oom Paul shape with a saddle stem. The F/T refers to a Fish Tail stem. The finish is noted by the Shell Briar and S stamp on the shank. The number 2 next to the D in England dates the pipe to 1962. The Circle 4 identifies the pipe as a Group 4 sized pipe.Jeff took some photos of the pipe when he received it from the Michigan auction seller. He wanted to record the general condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. This pipe was a beauty and other than the dust and debris of years it was in very good condition. There was a thin cake in the bowl but no lava overflowing onto the rim top. The inner and outer edges of the bowl were in excellent condition. The sandblast finish was in great condition other than the dust as noted. The vulcanite stem was oxidized and has some calcification at the button. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some wear on the button edge itself. The photos below tell the story of this beautiful pipe. Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The close up photo of the rim top had some lava overflow in the grooves of the sandblast. There is also a general accumulation of dust and debris in the sandblast finish on the rest of the bowl and shank.He also took photo of both sides of the bowl and shank to show the condition of the sandblast pattern on the bowl and the heel. The finish is very dirty but I like the looks of the finish on this interesting pipe.Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to give a clear picture of what it read. The photos show the stamping as noted above. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The final photo of the threesome shows the white spot on the top of the saddle stem. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation, calcification, tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem also has some damage to the top and underside of the button.  Jeff 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 was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show its condition. It was in great condition with no damage to either the inner or outer edge of the rim. The stem photos show the light chatter and tooth marks on both sides.The bowl was in very good condition after Jeff had cleaned it up and did not require a lot of work on my part to complete the restoration. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the sandblast briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point. I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth and took the following photos.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I finished with that I gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. This Dunhill Shell Briar Oom Paul came alive with polishing and waxing. I buffed both the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I buffed the bowl much more lightly than I buffed the stem. The polished black vulcanite stem looked very good with the Shell Briar finish. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing wheel to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is a beautiful looking Oom Paul that looks amazing and feels great in the hand. This tall bowled pipe should be a cool smoking pipe. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting this one on the rebornpipes store sometime in the days ahead. It may well be the kind of Dunhill Shell Briar that you have been looking for. Let me know if you are interested. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this with me it was a pleasure to work on.

 

Restoring the 2nd of Jennifer’s Dad’s Pipes – A 1960 Dunhill Shell Briar FE Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is another one from the estate of George Rex Leghorn. I received an email from his daughter Jennifer who is a little older than my 64+ years about whether I would be interested in his estate. My brother Jeff and I have been picking up a few estates here and there, so I was interested. Here is the catch – she did not want to sell them to me but to give them to me to clean up, restore and resell. The only requirement she had was that we give a portion of the sales of the pipes to a charity serving women and children. We talked about the organization I work for that deals with trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and their children and she decided that would be a great way to carry on the charitable aspect of her Dad’s character. With some great conversation back and forth she sent the pipes to Jeff and he started the cleanup process on them. Once he had finished cleaning them all he sent them to me to do my work on them.

The second pipe I chose to work on from the lot was a craggy looking Dunhill Shell Briar Prince. It had a beautiful sandblast on the bowl sides and shank. It had the Dunhill Shell Briar rich brown stain. The stem was badly oxidized with tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. The transition to the button was worn to almost an angle. There was a thick cake in the bowl and it was dirty and tired looking. It had been sitting in boxes for a lot of years and it was time to move ahead with the restoration. Jennifer took photos of the pipes she was sending. I have included the two she included from this pipe.When the box arrived from Jennifer Jeff opened it and took photos of each pipe before he started his cleanup work on them. This rugged looking Dunhill Prince appeared to be in great condition underneath the grime and oxidation on the bowl and stem. The finish looked intact under the grime. The bowl had a thick cake that had hardened with time. The lava overflow on the rim could very well have protected the rim from damage. We won’t know what is under it until Jeff had cleaned it off. The stem was worn looking with a lot of deep oxidation and some tooth chatter and bite marks on both sides at the button. As mentioned above the button was worn. The danger of working on so many estates is the overwhelming desire to add yet another to my own collection. We shall see. Jeff took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. You can also see the grime down the sides of the bowl.The sandblast grain around the bowl sides and heel was quite beautiful. Lots of interesting patterns in the blast that would clean up very nicely. It was a beautiful pipe. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable. It read FE on the heel of the bowl which is the marking for the Prince shape. That was followed by Dunhill over Shell Briar. Next to that it read Made in England with a superscript 0 after the D making this a 1960 pipe. The final stamping was a circle 4 followed by an S which gave the size of the pipe and the fact that it is a Shell Briar.Jeff took photos of the stem – first the White Spot on the top side and then the top and underside of the stem at the button. You can see the tooth damage to the stem surface and the wear to the edge and top of the button. I am once again including the tribute that Jennifer consented to her Dad for the blog. She is also sending along some photos and an article that her Dad wrote for Jeff and me to be able to get a feel for him. When it arrives I will post the photo with the other blogs on his pipes and will add it to this one as well. In the meantime I asked her to also send me an email with a brief tribute that I can use until then. Here is her email to me.

Steve, I want to thank you again for accepting my dad’s pipes.  They were so much a part of my dad’s life that I could not simply discard them. But as his daughter, I was not about to take up smoking them either. *laughing* I think my dad would like knowing that they will bring pleasure to others.  I know that I do.

I’m not sure what to say about his pipes.   I always remember Daddy smoking pipes and cigars.

First a bit about my dad. Though my father, George Rex Leghorn, was American (growing up in Alaska), he managed to join the Canadian Army at the beginning of WWII, but in doing so lost his American citizenship.  He was fortunate to meet a Canadian recruiting officer who told him the alphabet began with “A” and ended with “Zed” not “Zee”, and also told him to say that he was born in a specific town that had all its records destroyed in a fire.  When the US joined the war my dad, and thousands of other Americans who had made the same choice*(see the link below for the article), were given the opportunity to transfer to the US military, and regain their citizenship.

After WWII, my dad, earned his degree at the University of California Berkeley and became a metallurgist. There is even a bit about him on the internet.

He loved taking the family out for a drive, and he smoked his cigars on those trips. (As a child, those were troubling times for my stomach.)

I most remember my father relaxing in his favorite chair with a science fiction book in one hand and a pipe in the other… Sir Walter Raleigh being his favorite tobacco… and the pipes themselves remind me of him in that contented way.  If I interrupted his repose, he’d look up, with a smile on his face, to answer me.

It seemed he smoked his Briarwood pipes the most, though he had others.  At the time, it was only the Briarwood I knew by name because of its distinctive rough shaped bowl.  And it was the Anderson Free Hand Burl Briar, made in Israel, which I chose for his birthday one year, because I thought he might like that particular texture in his hand.

At least two of his pipes, he inherited from his son-in-law, Joe Marino, a retired medical laboratory researcher (my sister Lesley’s late husband)… the long stemmed Jarl (made in Denmark), and the large, white-bowled, Sherlock Holmes style pipe.  I believe Joe had others that went to my dad, but Lesley was only sure about those two.

The Buescher, corncob pipe my older sister Lesley bought for Daddy while on one of her travels around the States.

A note on the spelling of my sister’s name…

My dad met my mother, Regina, during WWII and they married in Omagh, Ireland.  My mother was English and in the military herself.  The English spelling of Lesley is feminine, and Leslie masculine, in the UK… just the opposite of here in the United States.  I guess my mom won out when it came to the spelling of the name.

I’ll send you photos of my dad soon, along with his WWII experience story.

Jennifer

*https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/10/22/the_americans_who_died_for_canada_in_wwii.html

Once again Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals 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. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top and the great condition it was in under the thick lava coat. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter in front of the button on both sides. I also took a photo of the stamping on the pipe – to capture the stamp in one photo. It read as noted above.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it deep into the sandblast finish with a horsehair shoe brush. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of the blast really stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside at this point and turned back to address the damage on the stem surface. I used a needle file to redefine the sharp edge of the button and in doing so was able to remove much of the tooth damage. I followed that by sanding the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the file marks and tooth chatter into surface of the rubber and also to remove the oxidation that remained after Jeff’s cleanup. I polished it with 400 grit sandpaper to smooth out some of the scratching that was left behind by the earlier sanding. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The Shell Briar sandblast finish on this briar is absolutely beautiful and the shine on it makes the variations of colour really pop. The pipe polished up really well. The wax and the contrasting stain on the bowl made the grain just pop on the briar. The polished black vulcanite seemed to truly come alive with the buffing. The pipe is perfect in my hand and when it warms with smoking I think it will be about perfect. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 3/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one that will likely go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. If you want to carry on the pipe trust of George Leghorn let me know. Thank you Jennifer for trusting us with his pipes. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners, we are pipemen who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

Reconstructing a Broken Stem on Dunhill Bruyere # 51671


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had just finished the first of the 30 pipes from my Mumbai Bonanza find, a Stefano “EXCLUSIVE”; here is the link to the write up; https://rebornpipes.com/2019/03/11/mumbai-bonanza-stefano-exclusive-restorationa-month-long-project/

How did I land up with this lot makes for an interesting read and one which I have written about in the above restoration. Here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brand pipes and some mediocre pipe brands. Overall, with seven Dunhills, a Preben Holm #1, a couple of Made in England Pete System pipes, Charatan’s and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had hit a huge jack pot!!! Hence, I like to call this find as “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The pipe that I decided to work on is from this find and is marked in a red circle in the picture below. The stummel surface boasts of some beautiful bird’s eye grain on either side of the stummel while densely packed cross grain adorns the front and back of the stummel and also the shank top and bottom surface. It is stamped with “# 51671” towards the bowl and followed by “DUNHILL” over “BRUYERE” on the left side of the shank while the right side bears the COM stamp “MADE IN” over “ENGLAND” followed by underlined numeral “19”. Dunhill White Dot adorns the top of the vulcanite stem. The stampings on either side is deep, crisp and clear. The dating of this pipe is very straight forward and dates to 1979 (1960+19). However, deciphering the shape code, 51671, proved to be a challenge. The first digit 5 identifies this pipe as being Group size 5, second numeral, 1, identifies the style of mouthpiece as being tapered and this is where the ease ends and led to a lot of confusion with the next two digits. Though the shape appears as Zulu, it is not so since the shank is rounded. The profile of the pipe points towards it being a Horn shaped, but the shape code supports neither a Zulu nor a Horn!!! Well, another mystery which is likely to remain unresolved!!

With this information, I proceed ahead with the restoration of this handsome pipe, my first ever DUNHILL!

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber is clean with a thin layer of cake which indicates that the pipe has been kept clean by its previous Steward. From what I can see, the chamber walls appear to be without any damage. The chamber is odorless. The inner rim edge show minor unevenness which should be easy to address. It is the outer rim edge that shows significant damage on the left side in 7 o’clock and 11 o’clock directions. This must have been caused due to hammering of the edge against a hard surface to remove dottle!! The rim top surface has a number of dents due to the same reason. The mortise is clean and so is the shank airway. The stummel surface is peppered with numerous dents and dings and scratches. Being a Dunhill, any issue of fills is never to be expected and hold true for this pipe too. These dents and ding are probably caused due to uncared for storage by the previous Steward and further contributed to by the trash collector who had sold the pipes to me. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime and is surprisingly slightly stick to the touch. The briar looks lifeless and dull which is nothing serious to address. The vulcanite stem shows significant damage to the button end, in fact, there is no button at all!! The stem end is missing, well, about half an inch of vulcanite. Heavy and slightly deep scratches can be seen extending upwards from the broken button side. The stem surface is very thin at the place where it has been chewed off by the previous owner. I intend to reconstruct/ rebuild this portion of the stem, including the slot, while maintaining the stem and general profile of the pipe. This will require major repairs. The quality of vulcanite is good. In this project, repairs to the damaged outer edge and stem rebuild will be a major challenge, the stem more so, as maintaining the tapered profile of the stem will need to be adhered to for overall appeal of this piece of briar. Having just finished the tedious restoration of the Stefano, I am aware of the challenges this restoration will be presenting enroute.

THE PROCESS
Since the stem has significant damage, and from my experience of stem repairs (Stefano nightmare!) this will be the most time consuming and laborious part of this restoration, I start this project by tackling the stem first. I was faced with two options in my approach to this stem repair; first was to recreate a new button around the broken part and maintain the existing stem profile with a straight slot and the second option was to cut away the damaged button and reconstruct an entirely new button with a straight horizontal slot, sacrificing the overall length of the pipe. I decided to take the former approach. This decision was partly dictated by the fact that I do not have a rotary cutting blade to cut the damaged button end and partly to my innate desire to maintain the originality of the pipe. It’s a Dunhill after all!!

Now that I was clear about the path to be followed, I sand the stem end with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to erase the scratches and provide a smooth surface for the intended fill. I cleaned out the internals of the stem with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Once I was satisfied with the internal cleaning, I wiped the stem surface, particularly the damaged button end, with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove any traces of dirt and grime. To begin the stem repairs, I smeared a folded pipe cleaner with petroleum jelly and inserted it in to the stem airway. I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and generously applied it over and extending beyond the broken surface and set it aside for curing over night. To be honest, I have not researched and measured the exact length that I had to reconstruct, but eyeballed the length using the longer left side of the stem (where a very tiny raised portion of the button is still visible) as a guiding length. Before moving ahead, I would like to mention here that I had applied this mix in layers, over the week, to achieve sufficient thickness which would help during the filing and sanding while shaping the button and achieving the correct stem profile. Once I was satisfied that the fill had cured nicely, I moved ahead and began the process of filing and shaping the button end with a flat head needle file. And then this happened… As you can see in the following pictures, not everything was lost. There remained a portion of the fill which was intact. Not one to give up and having the experience of the Stefano behind me, I persisted with the reconstruction. I made a fresh mix of activated charcoal and CA superglue, this time around increasing the amount of superglue, and reapplied it over the broken button end after inserting a petroleum jelly smeared a folded pipe cleaner. I continued with the layering technique of building up the fill.The next set of pictures show the progress of the stem rebuild using the layering technique. Slowly but surely, I am getting there!Once I had achieved the desired thickness and having let the fill cure for a few days, I proceed with shaping the button using flat head needle files. I am quite pleased with the way things are progressing at this point in restoration. However, fingers remain crossed and mentally remained prepared for disaster to strike anytime. At this stage, I am pretty satisfied with the profile of the stem, the thickness of the button and, in general, the overall progress on the stem rebuild. Also glad that there have been no further setbacks!!!! With this I proceed to shape the horizontal slot for the button. It is a long drawn process and a tedious one at that!! The inside of the slot needed to be smoothed out while maintaining the thickness of the button edge on either side. I build up the insides of the slot by layering it with superglue, letting it cure, sanding and then applying a fresh layer. I must have repeated this process for good about a week plus!!!! The external surface of the slot was also developed the same way and this helped in maintaining the thickness of the button edge.While the stem repair was progressing at its own pace, I moved ahead to deal with the stummel repairs. Given the size of the chamber, I reamed the chamber with size 4 head of a PipNet reamer. The cake was thicker at the bottom and used the size 2 head to remove the cake. I used my fabricated knife and scraped out all the remaining cake. The amount of cake reamed out of the chamber really surprised me as I was expecting minimum cake. I further used one folded piece of 180 grit sand paper to sand out the last traces of remaining cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. The walls of the chamber were solid with no damage. This was followed by cleaning the mortise by scraping away at the dried gunk with my fabricated spatula and followed it up with further cleaning using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This eliminated all traces of old smells from previous usage. Continuing with the cleaning regime, using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the surface of the stummel and the rim top. The original reddish dye was also washed away to some extent. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The damages to the outer rim edge, uneven inner rim edge and stummel dents and dings are now clearly visible in the above pictures after the cleaning.

Next, I decided to address the dents and dings on the stummel surface and the damage on the rim outer edge by steaming them out. I heated my fabricated knife over the flame of a candle, placed a wet Turkish hand towel over the damaged areas and steamed out the dents by placing the heated knife over the towel. Though some dents were still observed, these were greatly reduced when compared to before steaming. The steaming method had raised to the surface all the major dents and dings. However, the outer edge of the rim still remained unaffected. The steaming method having failed to address the issue of the damaged outer rim edge, I decided to use a more aggressive method of topping the rim top. Personally, I prefer to avoid topping as I do not appreciate loosing even one mm of briar estate, but in this instance, I was left with no recourse but to top the rim. I topped the rim on a 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently the progress being made. The damage to the outer rim was so extensive that the even after what felt like ages of topping, the damage was still apparent. Finally, I just did not feel like topping any further and hence decided on another course of action. I would rebuild the outer edge with briar dust and superglue. Having decided on this course of action, I lightly top it on 600 grit sand paper to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the 220. The only benefit derived from this topping was that the inner rim is now perfect and I collected some briar dust!

I tried mixing briar dust with superglue, but to no avail. The moment the two came in contact with each other, the mix hardened. So I resorted to the layering method again, first I layered superglue over the damaged surface followed by sprinkling of briar dust and one final layer of superglue. I set the stummel aside to cure. The only problem with this method is the high probability of presence of air pockets.The next evening, the repairs to the edge had completely cured and I move ahead by filing and rough shaping with a flat head needle file. I further fine tune the blending by sanding it down with 220, 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. Here is how the repaired area appears at this stage. I am very pleased with the way this repair progressed.Steaming out the dents and dings from the stummel surface had necessitated that the surface of the stummel be evened out by sanding. I sand the entire stummel using 220, 400, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. The little dents and dings that remained on the stummel and outer rim edge were also evened out under this sanding process. This was followed by polishing with micromesh pads. I wet sand the stummel with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and follow it up by dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the surface with a moist cotton cloth after every wet pad to check the progress. The repaired rim edge now appears shiny and glossy. This has got me a bit worried as it stands out from the rest of the stummel surface. I fervently pray that this is masked after I have stained it. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I had hoped that the balm would work its magic on the filled area and help in blending it a bit, but that did not happen. I had simultaneously been working on the stem reconstruction by building up the slot and button using the layering technique. Though tedious, I have reached a satisfactory stage from where I can fine tune the slot and button edges. What followed were hours of tedious, back breaking and nerve wracking process of sanding and shaping of the slot and the button. Though the slot is not a perfect horizontal straight opening, rather a slight oval, I have managed to match the profile and dimensions of the original stem and the pipe is definitely smokable. Here are pictures of the progress.For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite. The repairs have blended in very well and the stem now looks a shiny black and beautiful. The internals of the stem was cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The finished stem is shown below. I kept the stem aside to let the stem absorb the oil and turn my attention towards the stummel. I decided to stain the stummel in cherry red stain which was the original stain true to the Bruyere line of Dunhill pipes. I use the powder variety of stain and mix it with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I heated the stummel surface with a heat gun and applied the stain with a folded pipe cleaner. As I paint the stummel with stain over sections at a time, I burn the dye using a Bic lighter that combusts the alcohol in the aniline dye and sets the dye pigmentation in the wood.  After fully saturating the stummel and covering the whole surface, including the rim top, I set the stummel aside to rest for several hours. By next evening, the stain had set nicely. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel (because I do not have felt cloth buffing wheels!!) on the Dremel and set the speed at about 40% of full RPM and apply red compound to the stummel. This does help in revealing the grains gradually; however, my fears had come true. The repairs to the outer edge of the rim did not absorb the stain and is encircled in yellow. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel (actually it is not the brand machine, but a local machine which is similar).  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs in this case, do not do justice to the appearance of this beautiful pipe, my first Dunhill. I cannot thank enough my friends Mr. Dal Stanton, Mr. Sam Vior, Mr. Victor Naddeo and Mr. Steve for helping me to research and complete this mysteriously stamped Dunhill pipe. PS: The readers would have observed the fact that the rim repair could not blend completely in spite of my best of efforts and still I have highlighted the flaw while the general tendency is to hide it. True, there are reasons for me highlighting the flaws; firstly, if I cannot hide it from myself, than why attempt to pretend it’s not there and secondly, the highlighting will encourage you to have a closer look at the flaw and maybe you could have an explanation for it in the first place and share it with me. This will help me in avoiding these mistakes in my future restorations. Third and most important reason is that a newbie somewhere who is not so fortunate like me to have friends and mentor that I have will also benefit from my mistakes.