Tag Archives: fitting a band on a cracked shank

Repairing and adding a touch of antiquity to a Chacom Meridien Diamond Shank 811 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

I was scanning through Facebook Marketplace and came across a collection of four pipes that were being sold near where I live in Vancouver. I messaged the individual and it turned out it was an animal rescue/hospital thrift shop. They were selling the four pipes and the rack with all proceeds going to their charity. My second daughter and I made the drive over to visit and have a look at the pipes. I have included the photo from the advertisement to show the pipes and their condition. The label on the sale was inaccurate but I could see what at least three of the pipes were and I was interested. After I parked in front of the shop and I went in and the clerk brought out the pipes and rack so I could have a look. In the order they are in the rack from left to right the pipes were as follows: A GBD Tapestry 1970 Shape (Banker), a Brigham 228 two dot sitter in a shape I had not seen before, a Chacom Meridien 811 Dublin with a diamond shank, and a Kriswill Saga140. The Brigham and the Chacom both had cracks. The Brigham had a hairline crack in the bowl and Chacom had a cracked shank. I paid the price we agreed on for the pipes and headed home.

I wrote Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes who is the go to guy for all things Brigham and asked him about the pipe. He said it was a shape he did not have and did not have on his shape chart. I thought about it overnight and sent it off to him on Monday morning. I look forward to his blog on this pipe as it is a really Danish looking Brigham.

That left me with three pipes to work on. Since the Chacom had the crack it was the hardest of the three to deal with so I chose that one. I really like the shape of the pipe and the way that the diamond shank flows in to the crowned Dublin bowl. The pipe was a bit of a mess. The bowl had not only a thick cake in it but also about a ¼ bowl of old tobacco that was unsmoked. The cake in the bowl had erupted onto the crowned rim top and left it a mess. The edges were covered so it was hard to know what was underneath the lava. The shank was cracked on the top right side of the diamond at the end. The briar was filthy with ground in grit and grime. The stamping on the pipe was minimal. On the left side it read Chacom [over] Meridien. On the underside of the shank near the stem/shank joint it had the shape number 811. On the right side there are very faint stamping that appears to read Made in France or possibly St. Claude France. The stem had the Chacom CC metal oval inset on the left side of the saddle. There was a lot of oxidation, calcification and tooth marks on chatter on both side. It was worn but repairable. I took photos of the pipe as it was when I brought it home.  I took some close up shots of the bowl and rim top along with the stem to show the condition of both. The photo of the rim top also shows the crack on the shank on the back top right side at the shank end. I have circled it in red to make it clear. The photos of the stem show its condition. You can see the oxidation, calcification and tooth marking in the photos below.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and have included them below. They read as noted above. Some of the stamping is very faint but readable with a lens. You can also see that the stem is stamped FRANCE on the right underside near the shank.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give a sense of the beauty of the shape. It is a nice looking pipe.I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick overview of the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-chacom.html). I have included that below. The Meridien Line is not included on the site.

The brand Chacom Chacom, créateur et distributeur de pipes turned up (1934) after fusion of Chapuis-Comoy with La Bruyère. Yves Grenard (†2012), second cousin of Pierre Comoy headed the company from 1971. He was responsible for Chapuis Comoy’s recovering its independance from Comoy. His son Antoine Grenard took over the direction of the company in 2007. Chacom is a brand of Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix, Ropp …).

Pipedia has a great history write up on the Chacom brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom). It gives a simple and concise timeline for the history. Once again there was nothing on either the line of the shape 811. Worth the read however. With that out of the way it was time to work on the pipe.

I began my work on the pipe by reaming out the cake. I started the process with a PipNet piper reamer to remove the thickest part of the cake. I cleaned up the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the rest of the cake. I took it back to bare briar then sanded the bowl with piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. Once it was finished the bowl was clean. With cake removed on the inside, I scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime ground into the briar and to remove the buildup of lava on the rim top and edges. It really was a nice looking piece of briar. I worked over the inner edge of the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked to remove the darkening on the edge and to smooth out the edge. It came out looking quite good.I took a photo of the crack on the top right side of the diamond shank. I filled in the crack with some clear super glue and pressed the parts together until the glue cured and the crack was joined.I cleaned out the mortise, the airway into the bowl and the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was very dirty with tars and oils and took a lot of swabs and pipe cleaners.I dropped the stem into a soak of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and set it aside for the night. While it soaked I worked on banding the cracked shank.I went through my collection of bands and found a really interesting one from the late 1800s. It is brass band with carved vines and floral patterns. I really like the look of the shank with the old band on it. I used a topping board and sandpaper to reduce the depth of the band. I wanted to thin it down enough so that when pressed into place on the shank it would leave as much of the stamping clear as possible. I pressed it on the shank. You can see that it cut off the right leg of M in Chacom. Otherwise it looks really good. I glued it in place on the shank and took photos of the banded pipe. I really like the look of the pipe with the antique band. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the debris. The bowl began to take on a deep shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish my fingertips 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. The product brought the briar to life and gave some depth to the finish. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I took it out of the Briarville Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I rubbed it down with a coarse cloth. While it removed a lot of the grit and oxidation it left a bunch behind. I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the softened oxidation on the stem surface. I have found that it works wonders. I used a small file to clean up the edges of the button  and smooth out some of the tooth marks. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Stem Polishes. I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I really like the addition of the gold coloured fancy band from the late 1800s to this Chacom Meridien 811 Diamond Shank Dublin. I put the stem on the shank and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it to deepen the shine. The grain on the briar came alive with the buffing and the gold of the band was a great contrast between the briar and the polished vulcanite stem. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside Diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Diameter of the Chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.02 ounces/29 grams. It is really a great looking pipe. The new repaired shank and golden coloured cast band really work well together. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. Cheers.

New Life for a “Malaga” Twisted Billiard with a Damaged Shank


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a “Malaga” pipe that is made in a shape that I would define as a twisted billiard. It has some great cross and birdseye grain and a tapered vulcanite stem with a quarter bent. The grain around the bowl and shank combined with the stem make it a stunning pipe. The issue is that it has a huge chunk. The carver did a great job of uniquely shaping the pipe to follow the grain on the briar. The twists and turns in the bowl are well done. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed with lava onto the rim and there was significant burn damage on the top front inner of the bowl. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the left side of the shank read “MALAGA” with the ending quotation just ahead of the missing chunk of briar. Someone had obviously banded the pipe somewhere along the way to hide the damaged shank. By the time it came to us the band was missing and it left behind a darkened shank end on the briar. The vulcanite stem had light tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. The button was worn on both sides. Jeff took these photos before he started the cleanup work on the 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 rim top had some lava overflow and darkening on the back of the bowl and some serious burn damage to the inner edge on the bowl front. The burn marks appeared to be quite deep on the inner edge on the right front side of the grimy pipe. The stem is oxidized and dirty and there is tooth damage on the button edges and surfaces. He also took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful grain around the bowl. The photos show the general condition of the bowl and wear on the finish. It is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe. Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the shank. The photos show the stamping “MALAGA” on the left side of the shank. The stamping is very readable. The break in the shank fortunately happens after the quotation marks on the stamping. He also took photos of the cracked and damaged shank so you can see the extent of the damages.  I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

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 the flat surface of the rim looked very good. The inner edge of the rim has some serious burn damage on the front inner edge. The outer edge looked very good. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it with hot water. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove all of the tar and oils but you can now see the damage on the inside rim edge. The edge is out of round. There is a burn mark that extends across the front and the back edge of the rim top at that point leaving the bowl edges out of round. The vulcanite stem had tooth chatter on both sides near and on the button surface.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank to show how good the condition is. It shows the “MALAGA” stamp on the left side. The stamping is very legible. You can see the large chip of briar out of the left side of the shank.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give a clear picture of the character of the pipe.I decided to start the restoration bu dealing with the cracked shank. I have repaired these several ways in the past. I have cut out a chunk of briar and carved it to fit the damaged area. I have also built up the area with briar dust and super glue I the past. I chose to use the briar dust and super glue method this time. I coated the edges of the cut with super glue and used a dental spatula to layer on the briar dust. I gave it a layer of glue and another lay of briar dust until I had filled in the damaged area.The repair was solid. It was thicker than necessary but it was exactly what I wanted. I would need to reshape it and bring it back into round with files and sandpaper. I shaped the inside of the shank with a needle file to bring it to round and allow the tenon to fit in the shank. Once I had the finish roughed in I smoothed it out with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the exterior of the finish and blend it into the surrounding briar. I went through my bands to find a brass band that would fit the shank. I wanted to band it after it was repair to protect the repaired shank and cracks from further damage with the insertion of the stem.I painted glue on the shank end pressed the band in place. The band is thin enough to protect the stamping on the shank and thick enough to protect the repair. I took photos of the bowl from various angles to show the look of the repaired and banded shank. I slipped the stem in the shank and took photos of the repaired and banded shank with the stem in place.The bowl had a wave in it so it was not possible to top it on a topping board. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the damage on the top and on the front inner edge of the bowl. I gave the inner edge a slight bevel to repair the damage. I polished the edge with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The rim top and edges really looked better. There was still more work to do but it was looking better.  I polished the rim top and the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded the bowl with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads to prepare the rim top for staining. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I restained the rim top and edges with a Maple Stain Pen. I was able to blend it into the rest of the bowl. Polishing it with the rest of the micromesh pads would make the blend perfect. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the 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 following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I am very happy with the results. I turned to the stem to address the issues on the surface of both sides at the button. I reshaped the button edges with 220 grit sandpaper and a needle file. Once it was shaped I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad Obsidian Oil. I finished by polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both fine and extra Fine and then wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. This Malaga Twisted Billiard with a vulcanite tapered stem turned out to be a real beauty. It has a great grain around the bowl and the carver really maximized that with the shape of the pipe. The repaired shank looks quite good and the brass band is a nice addition to the look of the pipe. Everything about the pipe – the shape of the bowl, the beveled rim top and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the grain around the bowl sides. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel and the grain just popped and came alive. 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 took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your rack send me an email or message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another estate pipe.

Banding and Stemming a Figural Pipe – A Carved Bull’s Head


I have never been a big fan of carved animal pipes- whether birds, bulls, horses, etc. There is just something about them that always makes me shy away. Needless to say when I picked up this one in an EBay lot I put it in the bottom of the box of pipes to be refurbished and kept burying it lower in the box. A few weeks ago when I had very few left I decided to give it a go. There were a few challenges about it that made it look interesting. It was without a stem and the shank was damaged – several cracks in it. The angles of the shank made banding it a challenge and the thickness of the neck of the bull at the base of the shank made it formidable. Those attracted me to giving it a try. I also figured I could do some carving on the shank to make it possible to band it and then sand rework an old stem to fit the newly carved shank. The bowl has some kind of impermeable coating on it. Acetone will not cut it; Everclear will not cut it and even a soak in the alcohol bath will not cut it. It is like a coat of Urethane. All my attacks on it resulted in not even damaging the surface. Ah well it will stay as it is then.

I used my Dremel to sand back the shank area so that a band would fit it. I sanded back the neck of the bull to allow for a visible shank. I also had to sand the area at the back of the head to fit the band on the shank. I sanded it with some medium grit emery paper to remove the deep scratches from the Dremel and then worked it over with 240 and 320 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. I finished by wet sanding the shank with micromesh sanding pads from 1500-3200 grit. Once I had it cut back and ready, I heated a band with my heat gun and pressure fit it onto the newly formed shank. The next three photos show the newly banded shank. I left a little excess length on the band so that it would form a seat for the stem (visible in Photo 2). The shank end was so badly damaged that I could not get a smooth end on it. In Photo 3 you can also see the cracks in the shank that I repaired with superglue and pressure.
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I had an old stem in my can of stems that was the right shape. It was also in rough shape. It was one of those I had held on to that should have probably been pitched. However, it was right for this shank and would be reparable with a bit of work. This pipe sat on my work table throughout the repairs I was doing on all the other pipes I have worked on in the past month. It was just sitting there and every so often I would pick it up and work on it. The next series of nine photos shows the stem that I was working on for the pipe.

Figure 1 Top view of the stem before I worked on it. There were bite marks, tooth marks and pieces missing.

Figure 1 Top view of the stem before I worked on it. There were bite marks, tooth marks and pieces missing.

Figure 2 I sanded down the stem and filled the deep pits with black superglue. The top side of the stem shows the shiny black glue patches.

Figure 2 I sanded down the stem and filled the deep pits with black superglue. The top side of the stem shows the shiny black glue patches.

Figure 3 The underside of the stem. I used a file to sand down the edges and the flat blade of the stem.

Figure 3 The underside of the stem. I used a file to sand down the edges and the flat blade of the stem.

Figure 4 The stem is beginning to take shape after much filing and sanding on the sides and around the button. This is a photo of the topside of the stem.

Figure 4 The stem is beginning to take shape after much filing and sanding on the sides and around the button. This is a photo of the topside of the stem.

Figure 5 The underside of the stem with the filing and shaping bringing it into shape.

Figure 5 The underside of the stem with the filing and shaping bringing it into shape.

Figure 6 The top side - note the left side dent on the edge of the stem. This would require more sanding, shaping and filling with black superglue.

Figure 6 The top side – note the left side dent on the edge of the stem. This would require more sanding, shaping and filling with black superglue.

Figure 7 Topside of the stem. I sanded it with 320 grit sandpaper and then medium grit sanding sponge. It is beginning to take shape.

Figure 7 Topside of the stem. I sanded it with 320 grit sandpaper and then medium grit sanding sponge. It is beginning to take shape.

Figure 8 Underside of the stem- again sanded and shaped. The dents and edges are starting to be cleaned up.

Figure 8 Underside of the stem- again sanded and shaped. The dents and edges are starting to be cleaned up.

Figure 9 Underside finished with the majority of the shaping. Now a lot of fine tuning needed to be done.

Figure 9 Underside finished with the majority of the shaping. Now a lot of fine tuning needed to be done.

Figure 11 The finished stem fit into the repaired shank. Right side view.

Figure 11 The finished stem fit into the repaired shank. Right side view.

Figure 10 The finished stem shaped and inserted in the repaired shank. Left side view.

Figure 10 The finished stem shaped and inserted in the repaired shank. Left side view.

Once I had the stem cleaned up and repaired it was ready to be heated and bent to fit the flow of the pipe. I set up my heat gun and turned it on low heat. I held the stem over the heat at a distance of 2-3 inches and kept it moving back and forth to prevent the vulcanite from burning. When the vulcanite was pliable I used a wooden rolling pin and bent the stem over the curve of the rolling pin. I find that using this keeps the stem from bending at an angle.

Figure 12 Heat gun set up and ready to use to bend the stem.

Figure 12 Heat gun set up and ready to use to bend the stem.

Figure 13 Heating up the vulcanite stem.

Figure 13 Heating up the vulcanite stem.

Figure 14 Bending the stem over a wooden rolling pin that I scavenged from my wife's thrift shop box.

Figure 14 Bending the stem over a wooden rolling pin that I scavenged from my wife’s thrift shop box.

Figure 15 The finished bend in the pipe. It is now ready to polish the stem and the shank.

Figure 15 The finished bend in the pipe. It is now ready to polish the stem and the shank.

I took it back to the work table and began to sand the stem and the shank with a fine grit sanding sponge. I continued to sand it and then worked on the shank with micromesh sanding pads from 3600-12,000 grit to prepare it for restaining.

Figure 16 Shank preparation for staining.

Figure 16 Shank preparation for staining.

Figure 17 Shank preparation for staining.

Figure 17 Shank preparation for staining.

Once the shank was prepared I stained it with a dark brown aniline stain. I flamed it and repeated the staining and flaming until the brown matched that of the rest of the bowl. I then gave it a coat of Danish Oil medium walnut to seal the shank and give it a shine that would match the head of the bull. I also finished sanding the stem with the remaining grits of micromesh (3600-12,000 grit). When I finished I buffed the stem and shank with White Diamond and gave it all several coats of carnauba wax. The next series of five photos show the finished pipe.
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