Tag Archives: Ehrlich Pipes

Ehrlich – Another Iconic Boston Tobacconist (1868-1968): An Ehrlich Special Chimney

Blog by Dal Stanton

I saw this pipe on eBay from a seller in the New England state of Connecticut.  What drew my attention was the tall bowl – a Chimney shape.  There’s something about ‘Chimneys’ that I like.  They have the basic Billiard workhorse air about them, but with the tall Chimney – it’s like a challenge: pack it high and tight!  My bid held firm and the Ehrlich, which I assumed had a German COM, was added to the online collection, For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! for a pipe man or women to see, ‘dream’ of the possibilities, and commission to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Todd saw this Ehrlich and commissioned him along with two other pipes – a Borge Mortensen Handmade of Denmark (see: Link for the restoration) and a Heritage Blasted Apple still in the queue – up next.  Here are the pictures of the Ehrlich Special Chimney that got Todd’s attention. The bowl is stamped with the nomenclature, EHRLICH, on the left shank.  On the upper right-hand side of the shank is stamped, SPECIAL [over] ALGERIAN BRIAR, which is dropped lower on the shank.  The stem is stamped with ‘E’ I had assumed that ‘Ehrlich’ was a German name and I had assumed, wrongly, that the Country of Manufacturing was Germany as well.  I was fully surprised to discover in my initial research that Ehrlich was a tobacconist located in one of my favorite cities, Boston.  This was a pleasant surprise because I have long appreciated the story of the US’s second oldest Tobacconist shop also located in Boston – the L. J. Peretti Co., still in operation and one of the few establishments remaining that mix blends while you test blends as you wait.   My son used to live in Boston and the city has had an attraction to me for its history, its character and yes, its sports team – Boston Red Sox and Bruins – sorry, as a long-time Miami Dolphins fan, I cannot stomach New England’s version of NFL!  My discovery of L. J. Peretti shop pipes, most of which were manufactured in NYC and some in London, started for me a fun advocation of collecting them.  I had never heard of Ehrlich of Boston until finding the article in Pipedia on the Ehrlich name.  I include it here because I enjoy adding to the opus of information, of especially Boston tobacconist shops.

The David P. Ehrlich story

Pipemakers and Tobacconists for a Hundred Years, 1868-1968.

The David P. Ehrlich Company has remained solely in the hands of one family during its century of business, yet it has had several firm names and locations. David P. Ehrlich went to work in 1881 at the age of twenty for Ferdinand Abraham, who dealt in cigars and tobacco and who had begun business in 1868 at 1188 Washington Street in the South End, but in 1880 moved to the center of the city, where the firm has been ever since. David Ehrlich married the boss’s daughter. In 1916 the name became the David P. Ehrlich Company and Mr. Ehrlich devoted the rest of his life to this business. Since David’s death in 1912 it has been owned by – his nieces and nephews including Richard A. and William Ehrlich.

Ehrlich shop has since 1880 had a predilection for historic sites. 25 Court Street was close to the spot where from 1721-1726 James Franklin had, with the assistance of his brother Benjamin, published The New-England Courant. In 1908 the firm moved a few doors up Court Street to number 37, on the opposite corner of the alley that is grandiloquently named Franklin Avenue. This new locution was on the site of the one-time printing office of Edes and Gill, publishers of the Boston Gazette, in whose back room some of the “Indians” of the Boston Tea Party assumed their disguises. Soon after the end of World War II at which time the store was located at 33 Court Street a move around the corner to 207 Washington Street brought the shop diagonally across from the Old State House and onto the site occupied from 1610-1808 by the First Church of Boston. The demolition of 207 Washington Street in 1967 caused still another move to 32 Tremont Street, adjoining King’s Chapel burying Ground, which is the oldest cemetery in Boston.

The David P. Ehrlich Co. has not just occupied sites intimately associated with Boston history and institutions; it has in the past century become a Boston institution in its own right. It has specialized in fine cigars, pipes, and pipe tobacco. In addition to the retail business, the firm has long specialized in the manufacture of pipes, both from Algerian briar root and from meerschaum, a beautiful white fossilized substance, mined from the earth in Turkish Asia Minor. Meerschaum lends itself to carving, and in the nineteenth century there developed in Austria a fashion for carving pipes from it with formidably intricate decoration.

The Ehrlichs have long had meerschaum carvers, who ply their craft in the shop window to the delight of passersby. For years the bearded Gustave Fischer was a familiar figure in the window at 33 Court Street. A succession of craftsmen have continued the tradition. and still make and repair pipes in the window of the new Tremont Street shop. They still turn their meerschaum pipes by hand on a foot operated wooden lathe made in Austria about 1871. Although briars are today turned on power lathes, meerschaum can only be turned on a foot-operated lathe.

As amber was used for the bits in his better pipes, David P. Ehrlich found himself in the amber business as a side line. For years the firm has been noted for amber jewelry in its many types and forms, often purchasing old examples from estates to maintain its large and varied assortment. And with the meerschaum and die amber as a nucleus, a variety of artifacts dealing with tobacco and smoking, as well as prints of Boston have come to decorate the shop. There is a display case in the Boston Museum of Science donated by David P. Ehrlich Company which outlines the story of amber.

Many of the mahogany display cases that were installed in Court Street early in the century have been transplanted to Washington and then to Tremont Streets, so that the present premises, although new, have a strong family resemblance to those that we knew on our earliest visits to Ehrlich’s. This is good sense in Boston, where people do not welcome needless change for its own sake.

In 1956 when the old Harvard Square firm of Leavitt and Peirce was offered for sale, the Ehrlich brothers, because of their Harvard connections, could not resist acquiring it. Richard A. Ehrlich was a member of the class of 1922; his brother William of 1925. As they had known for years this seventy-year-old establishment, which had done business in the same location in Harvard Square longer than any except the College itself, they took it over, with the idea of keeping it as it was, even to the metal ceiling. In 1958, to celebrate its 75th anniversary, David McCord edited for them an engaging volume entitled 75 Aromatic Years of Leavitt & Peirce in the Recollection of 31 Harvard Men . And as Leavitt & Peirce is to Harvard College, so is the even older David P. Ehrlich Co. to Boston – the purveyor of “a brand of special knowledge” built up over a century of honest dealing.

The January 1968 issue of Antiques Magazine carried a feature by Wendell D. Garrett titled “Paraphernalia of smokers and snuffers” describing in considerable detail the impressive collection of paraphernalia and smokers articles from many countries and centuries on permanent exhibit in their Leavitt & Peirce Cambridge tobacco shop. The Boston Public Library in Copley Square devoted twenty-five display cases during the month of January to the David P. Ehrlich Company Centennial Exhibition of Tobacciana made up of the Leavitt & Peirce antique collection, the David P. Ehrlich collection of carved meerschaum pipes and their two venerable Cigar Store Indians.

There are pipes of every price and size and shape, from good ordinary smoking pipes up to briars of the finest grain and meerschaums band cut, turned and polished front the best Turkish blocks. This is in keeping with a catalogue statement: “we have never ceased to regard smoking as an exquisite pleasure, rather than a mere habit.” Another of the principles of the firm is embodied in the observation: “we are pipe makers – not plumbers. There are no tricky gadgets in Ehrlich pipes.” But when a man drops his pipe, the makers will transform themselves into repairmen in a highly efficient manner. All this has been going on for a century, and we confidently trust that it will outlast our time, and then some.

With the information included above, the Ehrlich Chimney now on my worktable dates to at least the late 60s.  With a greater appreciation for the Ehrlich name and the richness of its story, I begin the restoration first with an assessment of its condition.  This old boy is in rough shape. The chamber has thick cake build up which needs to be removed to expose fresh briar for a new start.  The rim is caked with lava.The rim has notches and divots on the lip aft and forward areas.Generally, the briar surface is scratched and dinged a good bit.  The finish is darkened and needs cleaning to remove the surface dirt that has collected.The original stem with the Ehrlich ‘E’ reveals that this pipe was well loved and driven into the ground!  The calcium build-up on the bit is thick along with the oxidation.  The tooth chatter seems to reveal a lot of possible New England winters with the former steward’s teeth chattering as he clinched the stem.  The lower button has disintegrated from biting.  I’m concerned that it’s too damaged for a normal button rebuild.  I love to salvage original stems but this one presents some challenges.  The lower vulcanite surface looks suspect – that there may be a crack in the vulcanite.To start, using a pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95%, the stem’s airway is cleaned.To address the oxidation, a new batch of Before & After Deoxidizer is ready to go to work.  The other pipe’s stem that Todd commissioned, the Heritage Blasted Apple, joins the Ehrlich for a bath.  The fluid is eerie as it swallows the stems!After a few hours of the soak, I use a stiff wire to snag the stem and to allow the B&A Deoxidizer to drain.  I then squeegee more fluid off with my fingers then wipe with cotton pads wetted with alcohol to remove the raised oxidation.  Another pipe cleaner helps to clear liquid from the airway.The B&A Deoxidizer seemed to do an adequate job.  I add paraffin oil to the vulcanite with a cotton pad to further the rejuvenation of the stem.Turning now to the Ehrlich Chimney bowl, I ream the chamber using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I use the 2 smaller of 4 blades available in the Kit to navigate the Chimney chamber.  Following this, the Savinelli Fitsall Tool continues the scraping and finally sanding with 240 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen cleans the remaining cake. After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to remove the carbon dust, an inspection of the chamber reveals no problems with heating or cracking.   I also scraped the rim with the Savinelli Fitsall tool to remove the crusting lava flow.Next, the external briar surface is dark and dirty. I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad to clean the briar surface.  I also use a brass wire brush to clean the rim.  The brass brush does not damage the wood surface.  After scrubbing, I transfer the bowl to the sink and continue cleaning using hot water and shank brushes.  Using anti-oil dish soap, the shank brushes reach into the mortise and after scrubbing and rinsing thoroughly, I bring the bowl back to the worktable.The cleaning does a good job.  The briar is lighter, but the rim is still discolored. It doesn’t happen often but returning to the internal cleaning with pipe cleaners and cotton buds reveals a clean pipe!To clean the rim, I use the topping board covered with 240 grade paper to begin.  The topping board will remove the discoloration with fresh briar, and it will help remove the divot damage on the rim edge.  The next pictures show the progression of the topping. Next, the 240 grade paper is replaced with 600 grade paper and several more rotations follow.  What emerges on the rim are round bird’s eye patterns of grain.I decide to stop the topping not to lose more briar real estate off the rim.  There remain some divots on the edge of the rim.To remedy this, instead of taking off more briar to remove the divots, I mix Thick CA glue with briar dust to form a putty to fill the divots.  After putting a small amount of briar dust on the plastic disc, covered with scotch tape for easier cleanup, a few drops of CA glue are placed next to the dust and then mixed with a toothpick.  Gradually, briar dust is pulled into the CA glue and mixed until it thickens to the consistency of molasses.  Using the toothpick as a trowel, putty is placed on the divots.  When sufficiently covered, I put the stummel aside for the putty to cure.After some time, the briar dust putty has cured.  I first use a flat needle file to remove the excess putty until it is flush with the rim surface.  I also use 240 grade paper to smooth the patch further.I also sand the side of the patch with 240 paper.  Finally, using 240 sanding paper tightly rolled, I cut a small bevel around the circumference of the rim to remove smaller cuts and divots and to blend the rim patch.  After the 240 paper, 600 grade paper is used to further smooth and blend.  The rim looks good.  I move on.To further clean the briar surface of nicks and scratches, I utilize sanding sponges.  Before applying the sanding sponges, I cover the Ehrlich Special nomenclature with masking tape.With the tape protecting the nomenclature, I first apply a coarse sanding sponge followed by a medium grade then a light grade.  Sanding sponges address the minor blemishes on the briar surface well without too much invasion. On a roll, I also apply the full regimen of micromesh pads beginning with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  Following this I dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain comes out well through the micromesh process. One more step before putting the stummel aside to focus on the stem.  Applying Before & After Restoration Balm teases out the subtle hues of the briar grain.  Whenever possible, the natural briar is my preferred presentation of a pipe.  The Balm does a great job.  After placing some of the Balm on my fingers, I work it into the briar surface.  The Balm starts with a crème-like consistency but thickens to a waxy feel as the Balm is worked.  After applying the Balm, I put the bowl aside for 10 to 15 minutes then wipe off the excess Balm with a cloth and buff up the surface.Turning now to the stem, I take another long, focused look at the condition of especially the underside of the bit and button, but the upper bit has some issues too.  First the upper side. The tooth chatter is profound and there are two compressions that are in the center of the stem.  The one closest to the button is rounded, resembling an eye-tooth compression.  The other one is interesting as it runs parallel with the length of the stem.  The angle makes it difficult to imagine it to be a bite, unless it’s a back molar….  That could be, but the compression appears to run parallel to the airway tunnel directly below.  For the upper bit, I’ll attempt to raise the compressions using the heating method and follow by sanding out the chatter.  Fortunately, the upper button lip is in good shape.When I first examined the stem, before cleaning, I was concerned that there might be a crack running down the stem coming from the button break.  Looking at it now, even under a magnifying glass, thankfully, there is no sign of a crack.  That good news barely tempers the catastrophic break of the bit and lower button.  Interestingly, the lower bit shows evidence of also having parallel compression as the top side.  The area extending to the immediate left (in the picture below) of the break is compressed.  The forensics it seems, point to the former steward clinching the stem between his molars for a hands-free mode.  It worked until the force of the clinching on the underside faulted – the rest is history. To repair, I will first attempt to raise as much of the compression through the heating method, then rebuild the button with a mixture of CA glue and activated charcoal dust.  The new steward will need to treat the button with some TLC because a rebuild is not as strong as an original surface. The heating method is painting the compressions with the flame of a Bic lighter.  With the heating of the vulcanite, a rubber compound, the rubber expands to retake its original condition, or closer to it.  After painting the upper and lower with the flame, the compressions are noticeably less pronounced but still evident.Next, using 240 grade sanding paper, I sand out the residual compressions on the upper and lower bit.  The paper also removes the tooth chatter very nicely.  With the button rebuild now before me, I first clean the area with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.A piece of index card stock serves well to create a wedge to serve as a form.  The wedge fits into the airway to form the mold that will allow the patch material to fill the cavity yet keep the airway open.After covering the wedge with scotch tape, I place some petroleum jelly on the tape to keep the patch material from bonding onto the wedge – allowing the wedge to be removed without problems.The patch material is a putty created from mixing Extra Thick CA glue with activated charcoal dust. A small mound of the charcoal is placed on the plastic disk which acts as my mixing pallet.  I also put scotch tape down on the disk to help in the cleaning.   Next to the mound of charcoal dust, a small puddle of CA glue is placed.I use a toothpick to gradually pull charcoal into the CA glue mixing as I go.  When the putty forms and reaches the viscosity of molasses, I use the toothpick to trowel the putty onto the wedge, filling the damaged area with patch material.I build a mound of the patch material to be more than is needed.  This allows filing to shape the new button by removing the excess and shaping as I go.The wedge is removed easily with a tug.Next, the filing process begins.  I start from the end of the stem to remove the excess to first form the slot facing.With the slot facing flat and flush with the surviving upper button lip, starting with the upper bit, I use the flat needle file to refresh the surviving upper button lip.Next, flipping over to the lower bit, the flat needle file begins to shape the lower button lip.  The next few pictures show this progress. The process is slow, but patience pays off nicely.  The lower button looks good.  A few air pockets show up in the patch area.  I’ll sand and work on removing these as I go.Using 240 grade paper first on the upper bit, the residual chatter and compressions are fully erased.Next, focusing on sanding the lower bit area, 240 paper does well in smoothing out the scratches left by the needle file.  Shaping the button is coming along well.Next, using 600 grade paper, I wet sand the entire stem upper and lower.  Following this, 000 steel wool is applied to smooth the surface further.  The repair is looking great.Some air pockets remain on the lower bit and button lip repair.  I paint a small amount of acrylic nail polish to fill these microscopic pockets.  Again, I apply the 000-steel wool to the acrylic patch.With the stem repair complete, I move on to the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Using pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to the stem to rejuvenate it and to retard the growth of oxidation. Now on the home stretch.  I rejoin the stem and Ehrlich Chimney stummel after a small amount of sanding on the tenon.  After the cleaning, the fit was a bit tight.  After the sanding, the tenon engaged the mortise nicely.  After mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, and setting the speed to about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound is applied.  After completing the application of the compound, I buff the pipe with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust in preparation for the wax.  Before applying carnauba wax, I have one more project to complete.  The Boston tobacconist Ehrlich ‘E’ needs some attention on the stem.  Using white acrylic paint, I put a small drop of paint over the ‘E’ and then tamp the wet paint with a cotton pad.  This flattens the paint and dries it.  I then gently rub the surface with the side edge of a toothpick which clears away the excess paint leaving the ‘E’ filled.  I repeat this process twice to render the finished product.  It looks great. After mounting another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel leaving it at the same speed, I apply carnauba wax to the entire pipe.  To finish, a microfiber cloth is used to give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.

This Ehrlich Special Chimney turned out well.  I appreciated learning about the history of the Ehrlich name as one of Boston’s Tobacconist shops.  The button repair looks good and what a change from the molar damage with which the restoration began.  The vertical fire grain on the left side of the Chimney is nice and the bird’s eye grain on the right completes the ensemble. Without doubt, the pipe fits nicely in the palm.  I enjoyed this restoration and Todd who commissioned the Ehrlich Special Chimney, will also have the first opportunity to secure him from The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!



Getting Rid of a Foul Smell in a second pipe – an Ehrlich Dublin

Blog by Steve Laug

I have a box of some 25 pipes that I am working through for a friend here in Vancouver. The next group of four pipes that I am working on came to me in a sour, stinky condition. Alex had smoked them and found that as he smoked them each one became fouler. From my experience this happens when a pipe has not been thoroughly cleaned in the process of restoration. Sometimes even if it has been cleaned, the first few smokes draw out a foul taste and in this case an odor that made me put the four pipes in a zip lock bad to keep the odor contained. They really stunk! On Sunday evening I decided to give the foursome a cotton ball and alcohol treatment to draw out the oils and tars in the briar. I pushed cotton balls into the bowl and a folded pipe cleaner in the shank and used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with isopropyl alcohol. I set the pipes aside to let the alcohol do its work overnight. I know many of you use kosher salt and alcohol and that certainly is your choice. For me however the cotton balls work just as effectively in providing a medium for the foul juices drawn out of a pipe to be deposited. They are also easier to clean up and they do not leave residual salts in the briar. In the morning I took a photo of the finished work. You can see the effectiveness of the treatment.I took the cotton out of the bowls of the pipes and wiped the bowl down with pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to dry them out. The first pipe I decided to work on is the beautifully grained straight Dublin the second pipe from the right in the photo above. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Ehrlich over Imported Briar. The right side of the shank is stamped Boston which tells me that the pipe is Ehrlich’s Pipe Shop in Boston, Massachusetts, US. Alex had picked it up eBay and was drawn to the grain and the shape which were very nice. It was another pipe that the seller said was clean but after several smokes Alex deemed it unsmokable. It was now up to me to figure out what was going on. I examined the pipe when I took out the cotton balls and alcohol and I learned a few things about it that would need to be addressed. The exterior of the bowl was in excellent condition and had been waxed and polished. The rim top had some light dents but was otherwise clean. The bowl had the thickest cake of the foursome and would need to be reamed out. The stem looked pretty good – the E logo on the left side of the tapered stem was in good shape. There was one nick in the topside of the button but the stem looked good otherwise. I took some photos of the pipe at this point. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the damage to the rim top and light and the lava on the right side. The bowl had a malformed cake that needed to be cut back. It needed some more work to clean it up but at least the cotton ball alcohol treatment had rid the pipe of the rank smell. The stem itself was an interesting mess. It had been shinned and polished but there was still some light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside just ahead of the button.I took a photo to capture the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. The first photo shows Ehrlich over Imported Briar stamping on the left side of the shank. The second photo shows the stamping on the right side it reads Boston. The stamping on this pipe is readable. I started my work on the pipe by reaming the bowl with a PipNet reamer to get rid of the cake and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the inside of the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper to remove all remnants of the cake. When I was finished the bowl walls were smooth and clean. I cleaned out the airway in the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I cleaned out the mortise in the shank with cotton swabs and alcohol until the mortise walls were clean and looked bare. At this point in the process the stink was gone.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the bowl and shank 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 following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the darkening is gone. The finish looks very good with the rich contrasting brown stain finish on the bowl and rim. I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I rebuilt the button with clear super glue to fill in the deep tooth dent on the top side and the lesser dent on the underside. Once the repair cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and polished it with 400 grit sandpaper. 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 a damp cloth after each pad. The micromesh pads took care of the light tooth chatter and light tooth marks. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. Both parts of the pipe are finished and the pipe smells clean, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. 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 grain came alive with the buffing. The rich brown finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 5/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This one will be going back to Alex with the rest of his pipes that I am working on. Thanks for walking through the restoration on this great looking Ehrlich Dublin. It is really a beauty. I think Alex should get a better smoke from it now.

NEPAL PROJECT PIPE SALE 15 – From Ugly Toad to Handsome Prince. Converting an Ehrlich Special Grain Stack into a Beautiful Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

This is the fifteenth pipe that I have cleaned up and restored. It is a new addition to the box of pipes that I was gifted by a good friend of mine. He brought several more by the house last week with the same instructed purpose. I was to clean them up and sell them with all of the proceeds going to the aid of earthquake victims in Nepal. So far we have raised over $300 dollars for the Nepal project. All the funds that continue to be raised from the sale of these pipes will go to the SA Foundation, and organization that has worked in Nepal for over 15 years helping provide recovery, housing and job training for women who are victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. The Nepalese are hard at work restoring their country and there is much to do. The SA Foundation Project there was able to find new housing for the women and help the staff as well. Every dollar raised from the sale of these pipes will go to the work in Nepal.

This one is an Ehrlich Special Grain. I think that when it was originally made it was a tall billiard or a stack. Whoever had it before it came to my friend really did a job messing up the rim and the top ¼ inch to ½ inch of the top of the bowl and rounding it. This would not have been bad if it was done evenly but it was done with what looked like a carving knife. It left the briar hacked and damaged. It was almost as if the owner had tried to round the top edges of the bowl to take care of damage to the rim. The pipe is stamped EHRLICH on the left side of the shank. On the right side it reads IMPORTED BRIAR. Just above that almost on the top of the shank it is stamped SPECIAL GRAIN. The stem was oxidized and also had some file marks in the surface on the top and bottom sides. The slot in the end of the stem was very narrow and hard to get a pipe cleaner through from that end. I had to clean the stem from the tenon end. That would need to be taken care of. The E in the circle that is the Ehrlich logo was in decent shape on the stem.Ehrlich1 The top of the rim was very rough. The inner edge was no longer round. The flat top was cut and damaged with the carving knife that had been used on the outer edge of the rim to round it out. The underside of the shank was in good shape but the bowl sides and bottom had some dings and dents in it from knocking it about.Ehrlich2 I took a series of close up photos of the rim and the sides of the bowl to show the knife damage that had been done. You can see from the first photo how the inner edge had been beveled with a knife and was quite uneven. The top of the rim was scratched and had deep grooves from where the knife had slipped. The second and third photo shows the sides of the bowl and how the outer edge of the rim had been rounded haphazardly with a knife. The front and back side also was rounded and hacked. It was very poorly done and left the pipe a mess. The finish was worn and had been covered with a coat of varnish that was bubbling.Ehrlich3

Ehrlich4 I decided to top the bowl first. It would need to be topped quite a bit to take out the rounded and cut sides of the bowl. The damage was significant and I would need to bring the top down at least a ¼ inch to repair it. I used the topping board and 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged wood. It took probably 30 minutes of continuous sanding to bring it down. I had to press the rim against the sandpaper to keep the rim flat and horizontal.Ehrlich5

Ehrlich6 Once the top was flat and most of the damaged outer edge removed I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the taper from the bowl side up to the outer edge of the rim. It took a bit of time to smooth out the transition and remove all of the nicks and dents in the briar.Ehrlich7




Ehrlich11 I wiped down the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to remove the finish and sanded the bowl sides until the transition to the rim was smooth.Ehrlich12




Ehrlich16 When the transition was smooth and the sides of the bowl flowed evenly to the top I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to clean off the remaining finish and the sanding dust. I sanded the bowl with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and then took the following four photos to show the new look of the bowl.Ehrlich17



Ehrlich20 I sanded the bowl and rim with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and then prepped it to be stained. I put a cork in the bowl so that I could stand it in the candle holder that I used for drying my stained bowls. I stained the bowl with a 50-50 mixture of alcohol and dark brown aniline stain. I flamed it, repeated the stain and the flame and set it aside to dry.Ehrlich21

Ehrlich22 Once it dried enough to pick up I wiped it down with acetone on cotton pads to thin the dark coat and make the grain stand out better.Ehrlich23



Ehrlich26 I cleaned out the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I lightly reamed the bowl with a pen knife to remove the debris from the sides of the bowl.Ehrlich27 I sanded the stem with medium and fine grit sanding sponges. I followed that by sanding it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil.Ehrlich28 After the wet sanding I decided to open up the slot to make it easier to clean out the stem and shank with a pipe cleaner. I used a flat oval needle file to start the work and finished it with a thicker oval file. Once I had it opened I used a folded piece of sandpaper to smooth out the opening.Ehrlich29

Ehrlich30 I dry sanded the stem and the end of the button with 3200-4000 and rubbed it down with oil a second time. I finished with the micromesh pads by sanding with the 6000-12000 grit pads, rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. Once it dried I buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffer.Ehrlich31

Ehrlich32 The reborn Ehrlich Billard is shown in the photos below. I was able to clean up the mess of the bowl and rim and open the stem for a better draw. The bumbled job on the rim and bowl had disappeared and a sharp billiard took its place. The slightly darker colour of the stain adds richness to the billiard that I really like. It is now ready to be sold into the hands of its next owner.Ehrlich33



Ehrlich36 The next three photos give a clear picture of the rim top and sides of the bowl to show the grain.Ehrlich37


Ehrlich39 The last two photos show the tenon and slot on the stem.Ehrlich40

Ehrlich41 This Ehrlich billiard is a chubby shank larger sized pipe, probably the same size as a Group 4 in Dunhill terms. The grain is quite nice and the thinned dark brown stain allows the grain to show through to its advantage. It should make someone a great addition. If you are interested in this pipe email me with an offer at slaug@uniserve.com and we can discuss it. The entirety of the sale price will go to the Nepal project. I will pay the postage so that does not get taken off the proceeds. If you are interested in reading about the SA Foundation you can look at their website at http://www.safoundation.com.

Thanks for looking.

Making an Ehrlich Sandblasted Billiard Less Dreary

Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Photos © the Author

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore –
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –
Only this and nothing more.”
― Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), U.S. poet, author, editor and literary critic, in “The Raven,” 1845

My inspiration for restoring an Ehrlich Sandblasted Straight Billiard acquired online as part of one very good estate haul was much like the opening lines to Poe’s most famous poem, except that no raven appeared to quethe negativity. Instead, the insight I gained from the gentle rapping on my creative door, which is how most of my contemplative phases before any restoration pass, was to transform the original dark and dreary pipe into something lighter and bolder.Rob1 Rob2 Rob3 Rob4 Rob5 Rob6 Rob7 Rob8 Rob9 THE RESTORATION
There are times when, to make something better of a pipe – whether it appears to have passed through a wood chipper or looks okay or at least nice enough as it first appears – calls for drastic action, such as stripping the old finish. There are two ways I know to accomplish this: the more invasive and time-consuming sanding approach, which always carries the contingency of scratches, and the faster, smoother method of soaking in Everclear. On rare occasions I have needed to start with the soaking and finish with light sanding, but for the most part I now try to avoid stripping at all because of my early restorations when I was gung-ho for the total overhaul idea. I soon enough learned there was a good reason for the darker finishes that so offended me, with a few notable exceptions.

But by either route, the initial result will be a striking step backward in the pipe’s aura. In other words, the wood is going to look like it’s been scorched by the fires of Hell. Still, I knew this was an occasion that merited stripping, and the pipe in question being sandblasted was one reason I chose the kinder, gentler Everclear.

Taking advantage of the fifteen minutes needed for the Everclear to do its work on the bowl and shank, I set upon the task of working out the few kinks in the stem. Starting with purified water on a small square of cotton cloth, I gave it a bath, then used 200-grit paper only on the bite mark below the top lip, which with concerted rubbing, to my surprise, eliminated any sign that the chatter had ever been there. I was able to finish spiffing up the stem with 2400, 3200 and 3600 micromesh.Rob10

Rob11 Removing the briar from the alcohol, I wiped down the outside and scrubbed the chamber with more cotton cloth pieces and scoured the inside of the shank with a wire-handled cleaner before I set it aside to finish drying.Rob12





Rob16 Other upsides to the Everclear method were that the rim burn was gone and the chamber, which was not in the usual horrid state to begin with, needed no reaming at all and came smooth not even starting with my customary 150-grit first line of attack but an easy sanding with 320-grit paper.

I seized the opportunity to retort the pipe before moving to the buffing of the wood with a progression from superfine steel wool to 2400, 3200, 3600 and 4000 micromesh. I only snapped one photo of the results of this step. It captures the nice return of a lighter, golden, more natural shine to the briar as well as the only nomenclature on the Ehrlich, a brand that hails from Boston, Massachusetts.Rob17 Ready to turn the finished parts on the wax wheels, I used red and white Tripoli and White Diamond on the stem and added carnauba (not having any Halcyon II) to the bowl and shank. The carnauba only needed more intense rubbing with a soft cotton cloth to clear out the excess.Rob18





I’ve said it before. I’m more of a naturalist when it comes to pipe restoration, or a believer of using the truest color of the wood to its best effect, although for good cause I have strayed from the ideal. Most of the times I see an over-dark stain for no apparent good reason, I have an overwhelming urge to uncover the obscured richness of the wood beneath. I think I succeeded with this Ehrlich.