Tag Archives: Eric Nording pipes

New Life for a Broken Nording Danmark F Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

In one of the bags of parts Jeff purchased there was a bowl and there was a piece of shank with a stem in place. We took all the parts out of the bag and were able to see that these two parts actually went together. The shank piece is stamped on the underside as follows: F over NORDING over DANMARK near the horn extension/shank union. The bowl shape follows the grain of the block of briar very well. The break in the shank was not a clean one – it was a mess. The inside of the airway was plugged with lava and tar. Someone had tried to repair the two parts by gluing them together with epoxy. As expected the repair did not hold. Jeff took photos of the pieces to show the extent of the damage to the pipe – it really was a stunning pipe originally. The shank was thin but the briar was thick enough. The nice piece of striated horn that made a shank extension was in excellent condition. There was a steel tube in the end of the horn where the stem sat in place to protect it from splitting when the stem was repeatedly inserted. The turned fancy stem was in good condition with some tooth marks on both sides but otherwise it was undamaged. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy overflow of lava on the rim top.The next series of photos shows the two parts of the shank and the thick buildup of tars and oils in the shank interior and the broken briar around the shank. The next photos show the rim top and the thick cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the plateau top. The valleys and high spots are almost filled smooth with lava.Jeff also took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the grain on the pipe. The finish is very dirty but the grain is quite beautiful. There are nicks and dents in the briar.The stamping on the shank portion of the broken pipe is readable but worn. The joint between the shank and the horn extension is very good – solid. The metal tube in the shank end provided the internal strength to hold this joint tight. It is interesting to note that the shank broke just ahead of the tube inside the shank. The stem appeared to be in good condition. The button was worn with tooth marks on the topside. There was some oxidation and wear on the surface near the button.Jeff reamed the bowl and cleaned up the plateau top with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He scrubbed it until it was clean. He cleaned out the inside of the two parts of the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the airway was clear. He cleaned up the broken ends of the shank with a tooth brush and the soap. He rinsed off the bowl and shank and the airway with warm water. He dried it off and set it aside. He cleaned up the stem and let it soak in a bath of Before & After stem deoxidizer. He took it out of the bath and rinsed it off and cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol. When I arrived he showed me the parts. They were incredibly clean. I was excited to get started on the repair of the broken shank… so much so that I forgot to take pictures of the cleaned up parts of the pipe.

I picked up some tubing at Hobby Lobby and cut off a piece that was close to the length I needed to join the two parts of the shank together. I used a Sawsall blade and a hacksaw to cut a length from the tube. I used a metal rasp to flatten the end of the piece of tube and shorten it enough to fit into the two parts of the shank. I used the small blade on a pocket knife to open up the airway in the bowl end of the shank and to flare the end of the tube in the stem end of the shank.I used the hacksaw to rough up the surface of the tube so the glue would have a surface to bond to between the briar and the tube. I used some Testor’s Metal and Wood Glue to insert the tube into the bowl end of the shank. I used a tooth pick to press the glue into the area around the tube. I filled in the remainder of the gap with clear Gorilla glue.I used the tooth pick to put Gorilla Glue on the open ends of each piece of the shank. I coated the tube with some glue as well. I aligned the two parts and pressed the pieces together. I held them tightly in place until the glue set and the two parts were bound together. I filled in the repaired area with Gorilla Glue to smooth out the repair. I set the bowl aside to let the repair cure. Once the glue had cured and the shank was solid, I smoothed out the repair a medium and fine sanding block. I sanded the repaired area and glue with 1500 and 1800 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the excess glue. I smoothed out the finish. I decided to use Mark Hoover’s Briar Cleaner at this point in the process to clean off the briar. It works to remove the dust and debris in the briar and leaving behind a clean piece of briar. I polished the bowl and horn shank extension with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process. It is a nice looking pipe for sure. At this point in the process I brought the pipe back to Vancouver. I sanded the repaired area with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar. I wanted to remove some of the darkened area around the repair so that I could polish it further and restain the shank to match the rest of the pipe.I polished the repaired area with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads to polish out the sanding scratches. I polished it further with 3200-12000 grit pads. Once it was smooth I stained it with a Cherry stain pen to blend it into the rest of the pipe. The photos tell the story of the repair. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar and set it aside to dry. Once the Balm had been doing its work for a while I buffed it down with a microfiber cloth. The Balm cleaned, protected and enlivened the briar. The repaired shank was looking very good at this point in the process. I cleaned the pipe stem with a new version of Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm that he had designed to work well on both the briar bowls and the vulcanite stems. I rubbed it into the surface of the stem with my fingertips and buffed it off with a microfibre cloth. I polished the stem with microfibre pads – wetsanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it off with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. After the 12000 grit pad I polished it with Before & After Fine Polish and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the stem back on the pipe and took the pipe to the buffer. I carefully buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish the briar and the vulcanite. I wanted to get a shine but not risk damaging the pipe by having it fly off the wheel. Blue Diamond does a great job on the smaller scratches that remain in both briar and vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and 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 really nicely with a great contrasting stain look to the briar. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful Eric Nording F Freehand – the fancy turned stem and the horn shank extension give the pipe a great look. The polished black vulcanite stem looks really good with the rich browns standing out in the grain and the blacks of the plateau rim. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches wide and 2 inches long, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This pipe is truly a rebornpipe. The shank repair and inside tube that binds it together should last a long time. Thanks for walking with me through the repair and the restoration of this beauty!

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Restoring a Nording “Pick Axe” Freehand Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had just finished restoring a 1940s-1960s Kaywoodie Bent Billiard with a 4 holed stinger, also from my grandfather’s collection. I am always fascinated by “Free Hand” pipes. I feel these freehand shapes let the creativity and imaginations of a carver run riot without the bindings of the exacting demands of a classical shapes and finish.

Over a period of time, I have collected a number of freehand pipes during my not-so-long journey in to the pipe world and have realized that these freehand pipes invariably have a nice hand fit, sitting snugly in to the hands of the smoker with a nice heft to them. The most fascinating aspect of a freehand, I feel, is the carver’s desire to highlight the grains in the briar block and shape the pipe accordingly to highlight these grains.

I was fortunate to come across four estate freehand pipes, one Soren, one Ben Wade Spiral, one Nording #4 and one Nording Pick Axe shaped pipe. I discussed with my mentor and guide, Mr. Steve Laug, and after his approval on the aspects of collectability and the price point at which they were available, I purchased them about a year back!!!! Since then, these were waiting for me to work on and now that I feel slightly more confident in doing justice to these lovely pipes, I decided to work on them. The first of these pipes that is now on my work table is the Nording Pick Axe shaped freehand.

This beautiful pipe has the classical pick-axe shape with a plateau rim top. The stummel has a smooth surface with densely flame grains extending from the mid way on right side and extending mid way on left side while the remaining surface on the stummel has beautiful rustication. The smooth portions extend to the sides such that when held in the palm, all the fingers are holding the stummel along the smooth surface and one can admire the fine delicate rustications on the back while sipping your favorite tobacco. Blissful!!!!!!!!! Similarly, the top surface of the shank is rusticated extending half way through on either side while the bottom is smooth with straight grains extending from the tip of the axe towards the end of the shank.  The only stamping, “NORDING” in block capital letters, is seen on the smooth portion of the shank. The stamping is clear, crisp and easily readable. The fancy stem has a slight bent towards the lip and helps the pipe to balance straight on a table. There is the letter “N” in block capital letter, stamped on the top surface. But it is faint and hidden under the heavy oxidation.I searched the internet for detailed information on Nording pipes and this pipe shape in particular shape. Though I did not find anything particularly about this pipe, it was interesting to read how young Mr. Nording got in to the business of pipe making. It makes for a very interesting read. We must not forget to thank one Mr. Skovbo, who had a major contribution in introducing Mr. Nording in to this business!!!!!!  I have a couple of SON pipes in my grandfather’s collection which I will restore at a later date since I now know about the historical importance of these pipes!!!!!!!!!!! Here is the link for easy reference of those interested: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Nørding 

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The stummel is covered in dust, oils and grime giving a dull and lackluster appearance to the bowl. The rustications on the back of the stummel are, likewise, filled with dust, dirt and grime. This will need to be thoroughly cleaned. On close scrutiny, I saw some minor superficial dents and dings on the smooth surface. Will I address it or keep it as it is as a characteristic feature of this pipe’s past life? Hell yes, I will address it!!!!! I want it to be as perfect as I can make it for its next innings with me!!!!!! The chamber is clean with a very uneven and thin layer of cake. The plateau rim top is covered with overflow of lava. The inner rim edge is crisp, even and intact. The chamber is odorless and dry to the touch. The inner wall condition of the chamber will be ascertained once the chamber has been completely reamed. However, I foresee no issues at all as the bowl feels solid to the touch.The fancy stem is heavily oxidized with tooth chatter and bite marks on both surfaces and some calcification can be seen towards the lip. There is a significant damage to the lip end in the form of a bite through hole on the upper surface and some deep bite marks on both upper and lower surface of the stem. The airway in the stem is slightly blocked. These issues will have to be addressed. On close observation, the upper surface of the stem bears the stamp “N” in block capital letter. However, this stamp is very faint and covered in thick layer of oxidation. I will attempt to restore and save this stamp.The shank, mortise and the airway is relatively clean and will only need to be sanitized.THE PROCESS
The first step that I usually follow is the reaming of the bowl. However, in this project, since the only significant damage appreciated is to the stem and would be a time consuming process to repair, I started this restoration by addressing the stem first by sanding the stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper followed by 1500 grit micromesh pad. This serves two purposes. Firstly, it evens out the surface for a fresh fill during stem repairs and secondly, I have experienced that any fill in a stem repair turns distinctly brown after micromesh sanding if the oxidation from the stem surface was not removed prior to the application of the fill. Once I was through with the sanding, I wiped the stem clean with cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This was followed by flaming both the surfaces of the stem with a Bic lighter, concentrating more around the hole on the upper surface and the deeper bite marks on the lower surface. This helps in raising all the tooth chatter and dents to the surface.I inserted a pipe cleaner coated with Vaseline in to the stem airway before applying the fill. This helps in preventing the fill from entering and blocking the airway. I prepared a mixture of superglue and activated charcoal and applied it as evenly as possible over the hole and deep bite marks and set it aside to cure for 48 hours since the climate here is very wet and humid. While the glue was curing, I worked on the stummel, reaming out the cake with a Kleen Reem reamer, followed by a pipe reaming knife that I had fabricated. I brought the cake down to the bare briar. To further remove any traces of old cake and smooth the inner walls of the chamber, I sanded the inner wall surface with a 220 grit sand paper. As observed during initial visual inspection, I had decided to remove all the dents and dings in the stummel. I cleaned the stummel with Murphy’s oil soap, paying special attention to the plateau rim which was scrubbed with 000 grade steel wool to remove all the overflow of lava. Thereafter I sanded the smooth surfaces of the bowl with a 220 grit sand paper. Once all the dings and dents were evened out and the surface made smooth, this was followed by micromesh polishing pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads. Again, I wiped the bowl with a moist cotton cloth after each pad. Thankfully there were no fills in the stummel. Once I was through with the wet sanding pads, I used the 3200 to 12000 grit pads to dry sand the stummel to a nice shine. I set the stummel aside to let it dry out naturally. I rubbed some “Before and After Restoration” balm deeply in to the stummel with my fingers. This balm helps in rejuvenating and protecting the briar wood. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!!! The mixed grain can now be clearly appreciated. I let the balm be absorbed by the briar for about 15-20 minutes and then polished it with a soft cotton cloth. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar. Turning my attention to the stem, using a flat head needle file I sanded out all the fills to match the surface of the stem. I further matched the fills by sanding it with a 220 grit sand paper. I had to spot fill clear superglue into small fills which were exposed during the sanding and repeat the entire process twice. To finish the stem I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol after each pad and rubbed olive oil into the stem after every three pads. The stem looks crisp, shiny and like new. Having addressed the “appearance” aspects of this beauty, I turned my attention to the “performance” aspects to ensure that this beauty smokes as well as it looks. I thoroughly cleaned the shank internals using shank brush, pipe cleaners, qtips and isopropyl alcohol. The stem airway was cleaned using regular pipe cleaners and also bristled ones dipped in alcohol. The airway is now clean and the draw is full and open.To complete the restoration, I rubbed a minute quantity of PARAGON WAX on the smooth stummel and the stem and HALCYON WAX II on the rusticated surface. After a few seconds, using muscle power and a microfiber cloth, I polished the entire pipe to a lovely shine. The finished pipe is shown below. This one shall soon find a place in my rotation. Thank you for your valuable time spent in reading this chronicle of my journey.

New Life for a Nording A Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

I don’t remember where this pipe came from but it showed a lot of promise. It is stamped Nording Made in Denmark in a circle with an “A” in the center of the circle on the underside of the shank. The bowl is sandblasted around the bowl and shank. The stamping is on the smooth panel on the underside of the shank. There is a smooth ring of briar on the shank just ahead of the yellow acrylic ring. The ring is asymmetrical like the shank. The rim top is a combination of smooth briar curving upward to plateau on the rim top. The stem was vulcanite and was oxidized and had some calcification on each side of the stem for the first inch ahead of the button. I think that at some point in its life before it came to me it had a rubber Softee bit on the stem to protect it from tooth marks and chatter. It had done its job and there were no tooth marks or chatter on the surface of the stem. I took the following photos of the pipe before I worked on it. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition it was in when I started the cleanup. The plateau on the rim was dirty with dust and tars in the grooves of the plateau. The grooves of the sandblast were also dusty and dirty. The inside of the bowl appeared to be in good condition under the thin cake. The close up photos of the stem shows the oxidation and calcification on the surface. On the second photo, the top side of the stem you can see the faint remnants of the Nording signature N. There is very little of the stamping left in the vulcanite. The vulcanite stem has an interesting spiral look that gives a sense of whimsy to the pipe that will become more apparent after the polishing.I took a photo of the underside of the shank – you can see the circular Nording Made in Denmark encircling a capital “A”. The yellow acrylic shank extension.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer using the second and third cutting heads to take the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the remnants of cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished the cleaning of the inside of the bowl with 200 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I turned it in the bowl until the bowl was smooth and clean. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. I scrubbed the plateau rim top with a brass bristle brush to remove the tars and oil in the grooves. I rinsed the bowl with warm water in the sink while scrubbing the finish with the tooth brush to remove the dust and grime. I took photos of the pipe after cleaning. It was starting to look very good. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. Once the grime was removed the pipe smelled good and looked good.I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar to enliven, clean and preserve it. I rubbed it in with my fingertips working it into the briar. I worked it into the plateau rim and the sandblast on the sides of the shank and the bowl. I buffed it into the finish with a horsehair shoe brush. I set it aside for a little while to let the balm do its work. I buffed it off with a cotton cloth and a shoe brush. The photos below show the pipe at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the oxidation and the calcification on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the oxidation and the calcification and the stem actually began to look really good.I polished the stem using micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then buffing on the wheel with red Tripoli. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12000 grit pads to further polish it. After each pad I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem. When I finished with the final pad I gave it the stem another coat of oil and set it aside to dry. This interesting mixed finish Freehand is a classic Nording. Everything about the shape, style, and the craftsmanship of the stem say Nording. The Nording Made In Denmark stamp with the “A” in the middle gives the grade of the pipe. I am not sure where it fits in the Nording hierarchy but it is a well-made pipe. The shape of the pipe takes full advantage of the sandblast grain on the briar. The mix of grains – straight, flame and birdseye all work together to give the sandblast finish a beautiful look from any direction it is viewed. The reddish colour of the bowl and shank with the bright yellow acrylic shank work together well with the polished black of the vulcanite stem. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 7/8 of an inch. It is an interesting pipe and should make a great addition to anyone’s rack. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.