Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to me from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with RJ Clarke’s Pipe Shop after he died. I was asked to clean them up and sell them for the shop as it has since closed. This English made Kaywoodie Rustica Billiard is an interesting looking piece – a deep rustication with the grain showing through underneath and a smooth rim top. The pipe is stamped on the underside and reads Kaywoodie Rustica [over] Made in England followed by the shape number 80B. The bowl was heavily caked with a lava coat on the top of the rim. It was hard to tell how the inner and outer edge of the rim actually looked until the bowl was reamed. The rustication around the bowl was filled in with dust and debris. The stem had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The tenon was threaded and had a three hole stinger that was intact. It had promise but it was very dirty. I took some photos of the pipe when I received it. It seems like lately all the Kaywoodie pipes that I have been working on have been English made. I have also worked on several English made Rustica pipes as well so I went back to the previous research I did on the brand and quote that.
On Pipedia I found just a short line in the Kaywoodie write up that referenced the London office. It read; “By 1938 Kaywoodie had opened an office in London to meet worldwide demand. Kaywoodie of London was jointly owned with another famous pipemaker, Comoy’s of London.”
On Dad’s Pipes (https://dadspipes.com/2016/01/24/smartening-up-an-english-kaywoodie-standard/) I found that Charles Lemon had done some research as well: There’s not much information out there about English-made Kaywoodies. Production started in about 1938 as a joint venture between Kaywoodie USA and Comoy’s of London. This relationship lasted until the early 1970’s when Comoy bought out its partner. According to Pipedia, Comoy continues to produce a few pipes marked as Kaywoodie. My guess is that this particular English Kaywoodie dates from the 1960’s.
On Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-kaywoodie-notus.html) I found a photo and listing for the brand I was working on. The following screen capture shows the stamping that is the same as the one I am working on.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kaywoodie) and read the section on the rough outline on the history of the brand that links the brand with the English section of the company. I quote:
Again, demand for KBB pipes and especially Kaywoodie prompted another move for both the manufacturing facilities and the corporate offices. In 1930 the corporate office moved into the Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue in New York. By 1935, the manufacturing operations moved from Union City to 6400 Broadway in West New York, New Jersey which, at the time, was touted as the largest pipe making facility in the world. At the height of production, there were 500 employees producing up to 10,000 pipes per day.
The corporate offices were relocated in 1936 to the International Building, Rockefeller Center, 630 Fifth Avenue, New York. The invitation to visit the new office reads, “Kaywoodie is now on display at the world’s most famous address – Rockefeller Center. Here Kaywoodie takes its place among the leaders of industry and commerce.” The move to Rockefeller Center coincided with The Kaywoodie Company’s emergence as a subsidiary of KBB. All of the pipes manufactured by KBB including the Yello-Bole line were also on display here. By 1938 Kaywoodie had opened an office in London to meet worldwide demand. Kaywoodie of London was jointly owned with another famous pipemaker, Comoy’s of London.
From there I turned to a link on the article to a section called Guide to Kaywoodie Pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes#NOTES_ON_.22OTHER.E2.80.9D_KAYWOODIE_PIPES).
English Kaywoodies. All of the catalogs reviewed in this research contained the following copyright notification: Printed in U.S.A., Kaufmann Bros. and Bondy, Inc., New York and London. Kaywoodie Pipe cases and smoker’s accessories were also marked with “New York and London”. The catalogs, however, do not present any information concerning Kaywoodie’s London operations, or how the English Kaywoodies might have differed from those manufactured and marketed in the U.S. Lowndes notes that he has several English Kaywoodies acquired in Vaduz and Zurich. English Kaywoodies are now made by Oppenheimer pipes. Lowndes notes that English Kaywoodies with the “screw-in bit” come in Ruby Grain, Custom Grain, Standard, and Relief Grain grades. The traditional push-bit models come in Continental Plain and Relief, London Made, Minaret, Air-way Polished No. 707, and Lightweight grades. Prices in 1985 ranged from 9.50 (pounds) to 26.00 (pounds). Lowndes notes that the Super Star was a special edition English Kaywoodie made of finest briar with a handmade silver band. Lowndes has two: one from Zurich with a large white-outlined logo, and beautifully cased; and one in walnut finish with the black-in-white logo. A recent catalog shows the Super Star without a band and the ordinary small white logo. A 1985 letter from Oppenheimer states that the black-in-white logo has been discontinued and only the regular white logo is now used.
I had sent the batch of pipes from the shop to my brother Jeff in Idaho and he had cleaned them up for me. It was several years ago now that he sent them back to me and I am just now getting to finish them. He reamed them with a Pipnet Reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water to remove the grime in the rustication. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tarry residue and oils in the shank and airway. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the stem surface. When it arrived here on my work table I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. The rim top looked far better but there was some darkening on the surface as well as some scratches. The inner edge of the rim was out of round and showed some nicks and cuts. The stem look good but there was some heavy oxidation and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The underside was worse than the topside. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping is clear and readable and reads as noted above.I took the stem off the pipe and took a photo of the parts to show the stinger apparatus and the look of the pipe as a whole.Because the pipe had been sitting for a couple of years I scrubbed the externals again with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the dust on the surface of the rustication. I rinsed the pipe off with warm water and dried it off with a cloth. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper and then worked on the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give it a slight bevel. Once it is finished the rim top and edge looks much better. I polished the newly topped rim with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down between each pad with a damp cloth. By the end you can see the shine on the rim surface. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. You can see the underlying grain begin to show through the rustication. I “painted” the surface of the stem and button with the flame of a lighter to raise the bite marks. The process worked very well and lifted all of the marks on the top side and there was only one left on the underside.I filled in the remaining tooth mark with black super glue. Once it cured I smoothed out the surface of the repair with a needle file. I sanded out the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Kaywoodie Rustica 80B English Saddle Stem Billiard, an English made pipe from the local pipe shop estate that I am restoring and selling for them. It has turned out to be a great looking pipe. The rusticated medium brown finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works well with the polished vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Kaywoodie Rustica Billiard fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. I have a variety of brands to work on from the shop. 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.