Tag Archives: fitting a stem

Fanfare for the Everyman Pretender


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Member, International Society of Codgers
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Member, Facebook Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society
Website Roadrunner Restored Pipes
Blog RRP
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Photos © the Author except as noted

From their inception, Kapp & Peterson’s goal was to make a good smoking pipe that the ordinary, common working man could afford and we believe they have, very admirably, lived up to this.
— From A Peterson Dating Guide: A Rule of Thumb, by Mike Leverette

INTRODUCTION

The restoration this blog recounts has nothing to do with Peterson’s pipes.  Still, the litany of near fabled proportions in pipe lore, that Charles Peterson and the Brothers Kapp, Friedrich and Heinrich, experienced a mutual epiphany of good will toward all, even the less fortunate commoners, still rings forth in perfect, ever-flowing three-part harmony.  The more probable truth, after all – that the good men of K&P had a capital brainstorm in the form of a simple but revolutionary merchandising notion to market early designs of Peterson’s System pipes starting sometime in the last quarter of the 19th century – lacks a certain universal, perpetual attraction, as it were.

Now, I should at least attempt mitigation of the foregoing critique I ’am sure will be perceived by some as an unwarranted attack on one of the last bastions of master pipe craftsmanship, as some readers may misinterpret the kind of remarks I’m prone to make after I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking a matter through.  No kind of disrespect on my part for Peterson of Dublin could be farther from the truth.  One fellow on the Smokers Forums UK who had never met me other than a few cursory cyber comments back and forth once made me the butt of a snarky but harmless jab after I posted a brief description of my restoration of a nice though common System Pipe that I decided to offer for sale given the number of finer samples in my collection.  So far, I’ve bought about 33 Petes I kept, not counting those I passed on to others with the gleam of love in their eyes I know so well.  As I recall the unhappy SF member’s words in typed reply, they were: “Wonders never cease!  I didn’t think I’d live to see the day you would say you could have enough Petersons!”  The member in question warmed up quite a bit after I began flooding his posts with compliments, and they were even genuine.

The real mystery of this blog is the single mark of nomenclature on the entire pipe, even counting the original black Vulcanite/Ebonite bit of the style called “fancy,” but which proved to be broken beyond my time and patience if not ability to repair.  Even the relative ease of the kind of work needed by the likes of Steve to mend a gap in the upper lip of the mouthpiece as gaping as that shown below requires, as our host notes in the blog cited under Sources, much practice.  Also – and this is an important factor, not an excuse – I intend to sell the pipe, not keep it for the shop, and at times have different standards for the two choices.See the date and time stamps?  I worked on the infernal bit from then until a couple of weeks ago before settling on the better part of valor.  As can be seen from the stummel, the pipe is called, with somewhat disingenuous simplicity and similarity to the well-known The Everyman London Pipe by Comoy’s of London (with all of that and more stamping packed onto even the sandblasted versions of the latter).  From the beginning, when I acquired the bedraggled waif in an estate lot at least two years ago and sat on it until late September last year, I had one of those uneasy feelings in my stomach at the mere idea of committing myself in print to the conclusion that it was in fact somehow part of the Comoy’s brood.

Before I snapped my habitual first seven shots of the pipe as it presented in O.R.  with more worthy candidates ahead of it in triage, I began my online search that only further clogged the veritable obstruction in my intestines.  Having made some genuinely heroic efforts on real Everyman and Guildhall London Pipes in my limited time learning this wonderful tradecraft, in the combined senses of the words as well as the more clandestine meaning of the singular, I knew just what to expect from Pipephil and Pipedia but visited both once again anyway.  Variations on this theme continued off and on during the interim period until a few days ago when I took the

Google approach of “I’m feeling lucky” and again entered the terms “Everyman Pipes.”  I swear I typed the same simplest of many search terms I had tried for two years, but this time, in one of those inexplicable flashes of serendipity, the top listing was for P&K Everyman Pipes at JR Cigar!

Growing breathless, I clicked on the link and saw, more or less, my pipe in two other shapes but with the same distinctive fancy bits and rugged vertical striations around the bowls, and both were straight.  One was a billiard, the other a pot, and both, marked down $10, were still, to me, listed at an outrageous $31.95.  Despite all that, I was quite pleased with myself to read the blurb at the top of the page:

“A true example of eye-catching yet economical handcrafted tobacco pipes, the P&K Everyman selection by the famed Comoy’s of London promises a premium pipe-smoking experience at prices that can’t be beat.”

 I scanned further down the search result page, spotting a listing for the same pipe brand at Santa Clara Cigar, possessed of a remarkable resemblance to JR but with the Comoy’s blurb, ahem, omitted.  Nevertheless, at the fourth of five shapes down, there was my pipe, the P&K Straight Rustic #9, a Dublin.  Better later than never, the idea of looking up P&K Everyman pipe images occurred to me and at the top I saw the following, being the perfect factory image of my pipe.

OK, then.  As supremely pleased with myself as I was at this morsel of intel, even if some faiths that consider pride a sin could be right, I am not now nor have I ever been a member of the Nitwit Party, whose followers believe everything they read on the Internet or hear on TV is the truth.  There are many reasons for my worldview, not the least of which being my years as a newspaper journalist and photographer, as opposed to a photojournalist.  I sold my first news article when I was 15, and when I was 17 became credentialed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office as an official police and justice beat reporter for a community paper.  My publisher, editor and I tried the year before, and although there was no real age clause at the time (1978), the powers-that-were in the L.A.S.O. were too – well – pig-headed to relent until I gave everyone in the issuing bureau a major headache re-applying on the first of every month.

I try, no joke, not to pester Steve with questions to which I can find or – OMG! – figure out on my own using the brain that was between my ears at birth and, operating best on the right side of it, form a working plan to press on.  One of my best qualities is the willingness to admit at once when I am wrong, which in fact is a very good thing because I have had much more experience with that than, say, repairing bits with outlandish holes gnawed through them by people with Intermittent Explosive Disorder or tardive dyskinesia.  And no, I’m not making fun of people with disabilities, in particular schizophrenics, who seem to have been drawn to me all of my life, other than most of those in my family for some reason.  It’s sort of Cole Seer’s dramatic need in The Sixth Sense, having to be like a shrink to dead people. At any rate, Steve is one of the busiest, most productive persons I know, traveling the world almost non-stop, it seems at times,  doing good works while never letting on that his constant other full-time “job” writing and publishing mostly his own pipe restoration adventures and posting those of other contributors online.  All of this last part is by way of a drum roll of sorts.

You see, had I not called and left a brief message on Steve’s phone before emailing him more than the full details, as par for the course, I never would have received back the following concise words of wisdom as to the possibilities of who really made the Everyman Rustic Dublin on which I’m so very close now to describing all of the work I did!  Yes, I am!  Steve’s reply, in pertinent part, read:

I got your message when I got home late last evening and then read the email this morning.  I have not heard of the P&K brand and Everyman pipe does not at all look English to me. I am wondering if it could  possibly be from one of two original makers.

1. Alpha pipes Israel made for the cigar shop – the finish, style of the bowl and the stem make it look very much like many Alpha Israel pipes ) pre-Grabow ownership.

2. Lorenzo pipes Italy as they made many basket pipes for different shops.

That is as much as I would hazard to guess.

If I’ve ever needed Steve’s direction in research for a restore, this was it!  There is no way I would have reached those conclusions with such apparent ease and speed, in fact not ever, no how, no way, because I just don’t have his experience.  I mean, if there were a way I could get him to donate me a spare kidney or maybe his spleen so I could, like, grow all of his knowledge, why, I’d lie down on the table and do it in a heartbeat.  For now I guess I just need to get busy buying up and devouring and going back to again and again all of the great reference books out there, such as Who Made That Pipe?  The bottom line here is that Steve’s tip came back so fast my head spun like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist, not to overdo the whole movie thing.

All I had to do was figure out how to look up the Lorenzo and Alpha possibilities, which I knew I could manage, and I did a few minutes after reading Steve’s email.  The funniest place the Lorenzo idea led me was to some images of my own restoration of a gigantic Spitfire by Lorenzo Mille I restored and blogged just before Hallowe’en 2014.  The money card turned out to be with the pre-DrG Alphas made in Israel.  I found the following oddly familiar-appearing Burl Briar Freehand Pipes on eBay, complete with the same fancy bits curved just so.

Case closed.

RESTORATION

The bit aside, the only real problem with the pipe, and it was a real problem to be sure, was the rim.  Char and even the worst blistering from a close call with full-blown combustion, which so far I’ve had the opportunity to witness only with homemade corncobs, have often occasioned rise to heated anger but never cold feet.  (I – tender my apologies for all three puns.)  My mother for many years rose in the nursing world and enriched my vocabulary with terms the likes of crispy critter, with all of their brio, and sometimes spread cat cadavers across the dining room table, both extenders in place, on a single large thermo scientific wrap-around cover.  Thus I looked at the “easy” heat damage and the acute and problematic jagged rim edge and unequal width of the bowl’s peak with a logical, methodical approach that began to form.

I expect to blog my restores with the methods fresh in my mind.  There are even some of the jobs I hold special from the past few years that I’m sure I’ll never forget a single detail.  Not to suggest this was common or insignificant, but after nine months I can’t remember the specifics of how I accomplished the result of the first shot below.  The chamber had to be reamed, and when I do that I always follow up with 150-, 220- and 320-grit paper, so that’s a given.  I’m guessing I started with micro mesh on the rim just for the sake of trying and found it ineffective.  Then I would have turned to sandpaper and chosen 220 with the same rationale as the micro mesh but opted for 180 with the usual progression up to 400 before starting in on micro mesh and stopping when I realized I would have to solve the other obvious problems with more drastic steps.  Here are the results I just described, and after the drastic measure of a file.Healing the wounds of a procedure I consider radical enough that I have only used it less than the number of fingers I have on a hand (or, rather, considering the thumb is not technically a finger, the same number), in fact is not all that difficult in most cases, and seeing the result of the steps is always a great pleasure.  I used 180-, 220-, 320- and 400-grit paper, and then 1500-12000 micromesh on the rim.Then, I began the rest of the outer stummel.  Starting with super fine “0000” steel wool to lighten the color of the wood and easily get between the grooves, I switched to the full micro mesh.It was time for the retort.  As always, I was glad I did it, because this little stummel was filthy!  I have done as many as six retorts on a single pipe, and this one “only” needed three, all of them clearer.  I had no bit to connect to the shank and therefore had to stretch the rubber connector over the opening.  I show only the first round below.  I also followed the final retort with three cleaners dipped in alcohol alternated with three dry, all of which came out clean.Applying alcohol-based leather stain and flaming it is always fun, and I used Fiebings Medium Brown on all but the rim to leave a definite two-tone.  When it cooled, I wiped away the char and a little extra darkness with 8000 micro mesh. I hand-rubbed a sparing amount of Halcyon II Wax into the wood and crevices of the rusticated pipe for which it is made, not to be frugal but because a little goes a long way.  In most cases, I let it dry or set or whatever as much as it can, in general 20 minutes or so but sometimes a considerable time longer, and wiped the excess off with a soft cotton rag while rubbing more into the pores of the wood.  Other times, I let the setting process go on for a considerable time longer, but not often.  I was then almost finished with the long project and was more than prepared to accomplish the final main task,  filled with joy to tackle (thinking of football) the key part of the  experience: fitting one of two fancy Lucite stems, an orange and a yellow, that arrived in the mail – eight months after I finished the stummel.  In case anyone wondered at my persnickety comments regarding the amount of time I spent on a certain bit of work trying to repair a part of the original Everyman that I will now leave unnamed, in my own way, that’s why.

I went with the golden bit to the right.  As a point of interest, the popular online site where I bought a total of three bits in one order listed these two as gold, but the system is a touch odd, to me at least, and also the viewing system for the product you in fact get wasn’t working that day for all items, including the yellow bit.  But I can use it, and it was inexpensive!  Having none of the finer and more expensive equipment for tenon cutting, I hand-sanded the shank insert end down to where it had a nice, tentative fit for the time being.  That task took another day.  Making use /of another of Steve’s blogs, on bending stems, I chose the oven method because it had worked so well on several occasions in the past with Vulcanite.  BTW, I doubt the Lucite was the problem.  I always take a look in the mirror before pointing a finger lest I see three others pointed right back at me.  I say, go figure!  After that mishap, I switched to the boiling water method that worked better but I’m sure was spoiled by already having baked the bit. I repeated the boiling method and achieved the desired bend.  Halcyon II was is meant to be used in place of regular buffing wheel waxes and compounds, but I wanted a slightly brighter finish, and so I ended with spins of Red Tripoli and carnauba.

CONCLUSION

Even regardless of its look, and by that I mean nothing rude, the likelihood of this pipe being of British make – lacking any indication of such origin, whether the city or country of manufacture, a line name, or the often top secret coded markings of which our friends across the Pond are so fond – is so paltry as to end any further debate lacking official admissible documentary evidence.  WikiLeaks might suffice, in particular if the disseminator were to flee his country or be arrested or renditioned or still more conclusively, become the subject of cover page stories of the world’s tabloid toilet wipes.  On the other hand, and here I am not being facetious, if my already stated conclusion that the simple but honorable Everyman is a blast from the past of the pre-Dr. Grabow Alpha days of Israel, made by the Shalom Pipe Factory, and I am in fact wrong, I would as always appreciate input from any authorities or scholars among us.

SOURCES

https://www.jrcigars.com/brand/pipes-accessories/p-k-everyman-pipes

https://www.santaclaracigars.com/brand/pipes-accessories/p-k-everyman-pipes

https://rebornpipes.com/2015/07/18/bringing-new-life-to-a-gift-pipe-a-gasparini-mgm-elegante-brandy/comment-page-1/#comment-21243

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell_Shape_Numbers_and_Designers

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ALPHA-Burl-Briar-Freehand-Estate-Tobacco-Pipe-Made-In-Israel/332252221412?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D41376%26meid%3D0c2217f15e5f4850ad0061cb84cc5850%26pid%3D100011%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D121269666970

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Shalom-Select-Imported-Tobacco-Pipe-Vintage-smoking/322513288986?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D41376%26meid%3D0c2217f15e5f4850ad0061cb84cc5850%26pid%3D100011%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D121269666970\

https://rebornpipes.com/2012/07/15/bending-vulcanite-stems/

 

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Jen’s Trove No. 2–Perhaps a LHS London Royal Full Bent Billiard – Oom Paul


Blog by Dal Stanton

I don’t usually begin a blog with an addendum, but just before I sent this to Steve to publish on Reborn Pipes, I sent a picture of this pipe along with a few other pipes with the question, “Oom Paul or Full Bent Billiards?”  Here are the two pictures I sent – the first, Jen’s #2, and two others: This is the fun part of learning the fine art of pipe shape identification!  I was identifying the third pipe, (far right) as definitely an Oom Paul – mainly by the way the shank and bowl merge vertically and then the shank/stem breaks away but stays real tight in a full bend.  The other two, have more of a ¾ bend, but they also have more of a merge between shank and bowl creeping upwardly.  I called the 2 on the left, full-bent Billiards for that reason.  I loved Steve’s response:

Dal

To me they are all variations on an Oom Paul Shape which is actually a full bent billiard. LOL! The joys of identifying shapes.

Steve

So, with addendum completed, Jen pulled this very nice Full Bent Billiard, (Oom Paul!) out of the ‘Help Me!’ basket and added it to the trove she has asked me to restore for her.  She will be transitioning back to the US at the end of the summer and she will be packing several of The Pipe Steward’s restorations to give as gifts to the special men in her family.  I’m happy to oblige!  Jen’s purchases will benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria, and bring much joy to her family!  I found this pipe on eBay as one in a lot of 13 pipes – I acquired some interesting pipes that await restoration in the basket!  The pictures I saw from the seller in Nevada included Jen’s Oom Paul – at 8 o’clock below and then a closer view following. The seller’s attempt to identify the Oom Paul were helpful and set me on the path:

Unknown – Markings appear to be rubbed out from handling. I think I see the word “London” followed by some indiscernible word.

On my work desk in Sofia, Bulgaria, I take some additional pictures to fill in the gaps. Looking at two pictures above and the nomenclature on the left side of the shank, I tend to agree with the seller that the first word appears to be London in a cursive-type script with a flared line underneath.  The second word appears to start with a “P” also in a script with a flare line underneath. To see if I can make a possible identification with a pipe name starting with “London P…” I go to Wilczak & Colwell’s “Who Made That Pipe?” and I find some Comoy contenders – “London Pipe” and “London Pride”.  Neither of these candidates seem likely because the corresponding Comoy stem mark, “C” was absent.  Yet, the pipe could have a replacement stem, but not likely.  I then go to Pipephil.eu and simply search anything starting with “London”.  What I found was very interesting and possibly a match.  The clipping from Pipephil below shows the ‘London Royal’ nomenclature – looking at my specimen, what I thought was a “P” very likely is an “R”.  The flare lines underneath is a convincing indicator as well.  Also matching was the right side “Imported Briar”.  Again, missing is any stem marking – a hat in the specimen below.

While I cannot be 100% sure in the identification, “London Royal” may indeed be on target.  Pipedia gives a short description of the LHS company:

Ludwig Stern, a successful pipe manufacturer since 1893 and closing around 1960, reorganized his company along with his brother Hugo Stern, opening a factory in 1911. They named the company L&H Stern Smoking Pipes & Holders. The newly formed company was moved into a six-story building on the corner of Pearl and Waters street Brooklyn, NY.

The American company produced such pipe names as Sterncrest, Purex, Silvercrest, Barrister, Marwyn, Park Lane, Radmanol and Warwick.

Whether (or not) the Oom Paul (Billiard) before me is a LHS London Royal, it is a very attractive pipe with quality grain movement.  Overall, it is in good shape and I’m hoping an easier than normal clean-up and recommissioning.  There are a few nicks on the rim and some fills that need attention.  The chamber has very mild cake.  The stem bit shows some tooth chatter and no oxidation that I can see.  I begin the restoration of this possible, LHS London Royal by reaming the chamber bringing it to the briar for a fresh start.  I also plop the stem into the Oxi-Clean bath even though there is no visible oxidation.   Starting with the smallest, I use 2 of the 4 blades available in the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I follow with the Savinelli Pipe Knife to fine tune the ream then sand the chamber using 240 grit paper.  I then wipe the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove carbon dust.  The pictures show the progress. Turning now to the internals, I use cotton swabs and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean.  I discover the internals are pretty gummed up.  With the hour becoming late I decide to use the stealth method of cleaning.  I use kosher salt and alcohol to soak in the chamber overnight.  I first twist a cotton ball to form a wick to stuff down the mortise to draw out the oils and tars from the briar.  I then fill the bowl with salt and after placing my palm over the top give it a shake to displace the salt.  Then I carefully fill the chamber with the alcohol until it surfaces over the kosher salt.  I put it aside and turn the lights off.  The pictures show the cleaning process.Turning to the stem the next day, I remove it from the Oxi-Clean bath and even though it is minimal, the bath has successfully ‘raised’ oxidation to the surface.  Using 600 grit paper, I wet sand the stem.  Following this, I utilize 0000 steel wool to remove more and begin the polishing of the stem.  I still detect some tooth chatter especially on the lower bit and a small compression dent on the upper.  I use the heating method to raise the chatter by passing the end of the stem carefully over a lit candle.  The vulcanite when heated like this will naturally expand and seek its original place.  The heating helps, but I still need to do some sanding in the upper and lower button area using 240 grit paper.  Using a flat needle file, I use the opportunity to sharpen the upper and lower button lips. Following the 240 grit paper, I use 600 grit to further smooth and polish then conclude with 0000 steel wool.  The pictures show the progress. The stummel has been in a kosher salt/alcohol soak through the night.  Kosher salt is used because, unlike iodized salt, it does not leave an after-taste.  I remove the wick from the shank and it has done its job of pulling oils and tars out of the stummel.  I toss the used salt in the waste and clean the bowl with paper towel and a long-bristled brush.  I also use a brush reaching into the mortise to remove residue salt.  I follow by continuing use of cotton swabs dipped in alcohol and pipe cleaners to finish up the internal clean-up.  The pictures show the progress.With the stummel internals cleaned, I turn to the internals of the stem.  Using pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% I attack. It did not take long because the pipe cleaners emerged clean.With the internals clean, I now turn to the stummel surface.  I use Murphy’s Soap and cotton pads to clean the stummel surface. As advertised, Murphy’s does a great job cleaning the oils and grime that build up on the surface. After scrubbing, I rinse the excess off using tap water careful to keep water out of the internals. The cleaning reveals two fills on the surface which appear to be solid after I probe them with a sharp dental tool.  The rim has a scorch mark over the 10 o’clock area in the picture below.  There are also scuff marks at the 6 and 8 o’clock areas.  The pictures show what I see.I decide to do a light topping using 240 grit paper on a chopping board.  I don’t need to take off much – only enough to remove the scuffing and surface part of the scorching.  I will make an internal rim bevel which will remove damage along the inner rim edge.  It is a little tricky, because the shank extends beyond the height of the stummel top.  I do the topping on the edge of the board as a result.  After rotating the stummel on the topping board, periodically checking to make sure I’m staying true, I switch to 600 grade paper to smooth the top further.  Using a coarse 120 grit paper, I cut an internal rim bevel to remove damage as well as soften the rim lines.  I follow with 240 grit paper.  On the outside rim edge, I give it a light bevel with 240 followed by 600 paper – again, removing the left-over nicks as well as softening the lines of the rim.  I think bevels add a touch of class to a rim.  The pictures show the rim progress. With the rim repair complete, I move straightaway to the stummel surface.  I’m anxious to see how the briar grain emerges during the micromesh pad process.  I’m careful to stay away from the almost non-existent ‘London Royal’ nomenclature on the sides of the stummel.  I want to preserve what I can. Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand.  I follow wet sanding by dry sanding with micromesh pads 3200 to 4000 and then finishing with 6000 to 12000.   As hoped and expected, the pictures show the grain emerge.  As I look at the grain, I’m beginning to think that this stummel is a candidate to remain as the natural grain color and not to stain.  There are a few fills that I darken and blend with stain sticks.  It looks good!  I think Jen will like how this Full Bent Billiard (aka Oom Paul) is coming along.  I’ll finish the stem before making the final decision about whether to apply a stain.  Turning now to the stem, I wet sand using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 then dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 micromesh pads, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to the thirsty vulcanite stem.  This oil revitalizes the vulcanite.  I love the vulcanite ‘pop’ as the pads do their magic! Moment of decision.  I reassemble stummel and stem to get a look at the big picture.  The possible LHS London Royal Oom Paul is without doubt a handful of pipe.  The grain presents bird’s eye on both sides of the stummel with lateral straight grain in the front and on the shank top and bottom.  A very nice feel to it as well, as I hold it and balance it in my palm.  The rim looks great too with soft beveled lines.  Decision point – do I leave the stummel the natural grain color or do I stain it?  If I stain it, I will use a light brown hue simply to tie together what is already there.  The original appeared to have been leveraged toward the lighter hue as well.  With some input from my wife, who has more color coordination DNA in her gene pool, I decide to stay with the original, natural, saddle, leathery color – leaving it just as it is. With that decision made, I fine tune and bring out the natural finish by using Tripoli compound which applies a fine abrasion, then Blue Diamond compound – more abrasion but finer than Tripoli.  I use a cotton cloth wheel with the Tripoli compound (not my usual felt wheel) because I’m not cutting through the fired crust of a stained stummel.  After mounting the buffing wheel on the Dremel, I set the speed at 2 of 5 (fastest) and purge the wheel to clean it from old compound. I apply the compound over the stummel, rotating the wheel over the surface, not apply a great deal of downward pressure.  I let the compound and the RPMs do the work.  After completing the Tripoli cycle, I attach the Blue Diamond compound cotton cloth buffing wheel, reattach the stem and stummel, and give both the Blue Diamond buffing using the same approach as with Tripoli.  When completed, I hand buff the pipe with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust preparing for the wax.  Then, switching to the carnauba wax cotton cloth wheel, also with Dremel set at speed 2, I apply several coats of carnauba wax to stem and stummel. During the carnauba wax application, I notice that the stem has loosened during the process.  I use a technique of expanding the tenon a bit so that it gains more purchase in the shank from Charles Lemon’s blog site, Dad’s Pipes.  The procedure usually uses a drill bit, where, after gently heating the tenon, a next larger drill bit is inserted into the supple tenon expanding it microscopically.  Instead of a drill bit, I find that a Dremel shaping tool sized up a little better than the drill bit.  After heating the tenon, the shaping tool eased into the tenon.  It did the trick giving the tenon a better fit in the mortise.  The pictures show this procedure.With the tenon now a bit snugger, I complete the application of the carnauba wax. After the carnauba cycles, I mount a clean cotton buffing wheel on the Dremel and do a ‘clean’ buff over the entire pipe.  I do this to assure that no pockets of wax are left on the surface and to raise the shine.  After this, I hand buff the pipe using a micromesh cloth to deepen and raise the shine of the briar grain more.

This possible LHS London Royal Full Bent Billiard, Oom Paul has turned out very well.  I think that whichever of Jen’s family of men receives this pipe, he will enjoy it for many years to come as its new steward.  As I said earlier, the profits of this pipe benefit the work we do here in Bulgaria with women who have been sexually exploited and trafficked, the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Check out my blog, The Pipe Steward, for more information about this.  Thanks for joining me!

 

 

 

 

Dunhill 1949 Patent 120 FrankenStem


Blog by Henry Ramirez

Cruising Ebay for a pipe to play with I came across a Shell bent which, as stated in the listing, had the stem bit completely chewed off. I’d been trying a mold technique to reconstruct the stem button with limited success, very limited. Anyway, this pipe’s stem had been chewed to the point where no pipe cleaner could negotiate the airway and tobacco dottle was packed in tight. Here is a photo of the listing.Dang me, the previous owner had a heck of an oral fixation!  This stem was exactly what I was looking for.While the stem soaked in the Oxyclean bath, I evaluated the briar. The cake in the chamber was so thick you could shake a stick at it but after removal proved to be the protection connection because the inner bowl was pristine. I don’t know what it is about old tobaccos but the cake is dry and pumice-like with a delightfully transporting aroma to another time. The bowl’s rim was likewise protected by the lava of cake and tar. When I use my augers and drill bits, it’s either by holding the bit by hand or using an electric drill to hold the spade bit and turning the pipe itself. I’m listening for the crunching sound of cake being cleaved rather than the squeaky sound of metal on briar. Full rotations are usually not possible until the very end.

The stain and finish on the briar had that great oxblood highlight color that I love but was tarnished with a river of muck. I decided to try using my micro etcher to preserve the blast on the rim but knowing that I would later have to re-stain. I didn’t want to use Murphy’s Oil Soap because it diminishes the intensity of the stain somewhat.  Regarding the River o” Muck, I tried using my steamer which has a gun for accurate aiming and a boiler which keeps up the psi.  This muck was visible in the blast’s valleys as a white deposit. I fished out the stem from the Oxyclean bath, scrubbed it with blue shop paper towels to remove the slimy coating and polished it with flour of pumice, green, red, white diamond and Bendix on the lathe with individual rag wheels.

When the stem airway is too congested or crimped to allow passage of even a bristle pipe cleaner, I use a base “E” guitar string. It has a stiff central core wire which is later wound with another thicker resilient wire to poke on through.  My intent is not to mechanically open the airway but to remove any remaining tobacco chattel that the steamer couldn’t dislodge.

Next, I want to straighten the stem in my Wife’s oven. Of course I do this when she’s not around and so far she has turned a blind eye towards this practice.  But if there is residual tobacco burnt in her oven, I don’t want to be around to explain! The vulcanite has a memory of its initial pre-bent and pre-chewed state which will allow ease of cleaning and repair. The only bugaboo is that tenon-mortise margin can open. I was fortunate to have that happen because I have an adjustment technique to fix that which I want to try out. Importantly, don’t forget to trace the initial outline of the bent stem on a piece of paper for a reference when re-bending.

The pipe stem is positioned on a sheet of aluminum foil on the middle shelf where it is easy access and can be well illuminated by the oven’s light, I have tried to use an aluminum pie plate but the higher sides obscure my viewing the stem. I set the temperature to 247 degrees using the Bake Convection mode. This oven is electric and if yours is gas, you may want to let it get up to temperature first before placing your stem. Gadzooks!  The tenon on the stem opened like a blunderbuss barrel and the stem won’t fully seat. More fun!

The cross section on either side of the air way seemed meaty enough for some pins and channeling to create a ferrule of composite resin. I made a silicone putty impression of an unsmoked stem which approximated the same size and shape of this pipe. I made sure to capture the airway’s interior.I then plugged the stem’s airway with wax; micro etched the exterior surface and bonded the composite. I’d gotten a black resin colorant online but found that it either accelerated the mix to a very short working time or inhibited the mix to not fully curing. To blacken my next mix I’m going back to activated charcoal. But although this bit is ivory colored, it is very strong and decently shaped so I decided to simply slather it with a coating of black CA.

When I placed the pipe back in the oven to re-bend it, I found that some of the CA had over heated and was bubbled up like road tar. Note to self, keep CA out of the oven. I had seen this happen with an infrared light in a previous experiment but thought the temp was sufficiently lower to prevent a recurrence. Oh well, just more fussin’.

By the way, when re-bending the stem I never seem to be able to wait long enough and go through several attempts before getting it right. If it doesn’t fully bend to the proper contour, you have to wait until it re-straightens itself and then some. If you get greedy you can snap stem in half. I’m looking forward to my next stem bending because I plan to chronicle the ideal temperature using my laser thermometer.Returning to the bowl’s rim, I stained it with a light brown, got the stem to fit better but haven’t yet dialed it in and polished the pipe.I noticed that the preliminary outline of the stem displayed the additional length that the new bit added.Here’s the semi-final result and I wonder if any of these projects are truly ended because to aspire to the superb craftsmanship of these old Dunhill artisans is a journey rather than an endpoint.

 

 

 

Jen’s Trove #1: A Kaywoodie Author


Blog by Dal Stanton

Jenny has laid the groundwork for a pipe restorer’s dream job!  Jenny has been working with us here in Sofia, Bulgaria, as an intern for the last few years and she will be transitioning back to the US at the end of the summer.  She’ll be working with international students at what she considers her home territory at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville.  We’ll miss her, but she has created a bittersweet gauntlet for me!  She has gone through my baskets and boxes of ‘pipes-in-waiting for help’ that I have culled and collected to create a gift trove for the special men in her life when she returns to the US – brothers, brothers-in-laws, father….  She knows that the pipes I restore benefit our work with the Daughters of Bulgaria, women/girls who have been sexually exploited and trafficked throughout Europe.  She wants to support the Daughters but also communicate this to her loved-ones in the US by gifting them pipes restored by The Pipe Steward – me 😊.   Since the proceeds benefit the Daughters, the agreement we have is that after each pipe is restored from her trove, I will determine a price and she will then decide if she would like to ratify the purchase – a win/win/win all around – for her, her special men and for the Daughters.  As Jen poked and prodded through my pipes, I learned that she was seeking a variety shapes and sizes so that each gift would be unique.  I hope that I can run the gauntlet well by providing her precious gifts AND finish on time!!!

The first pipe I chose randomly out of the ‘Jen’s Trove Basket’ is a Kaywoodie Author shape.  I saw this pipe on eBay and was attracted to the solid shape of the Kaywoodie ‘Ball’ shape that was advertised by the eBay seller in New Hampshire.  Here is what I saw:When I looked at Pipedia’s Shape Chart put together by Bill Burney, I saw that the Ball and Author shapes are very similar, but Bill’s description of “The Author as a beefed-up prince, featuring a flattened ball-shaped bowl and a heavy 1/8 to 1/4 bent stem” caused me to classify this Kaywoodie as an Author.  With the pipe now on my work table, I take more pictures to fill the gaps. This is the first Kaywoodie I’ve worked on.  A plethora of information is available online about America’s oldest pipe making manufacturer.  Kaywoodie’s website is informative:

The history of S. M. Frank & Co. spans nearly a century and half of pipe making, supporting our claim as the “oldest pipe house in America.” S. M. Frank, as it exists today, is a combination of some of the biggest names in pipe making from the early part of the 20th. century. The pipe names Kaywoodie, Yello-Bole, Reiss-Premier, DeMuth, Medico, Heritage and Frank are familiar to generations of pipe smokers.

The article describes how in 1919 the Kaufman Brothers & Bondy Company (KBB) produced the Kaywoodie and Dinwoodie pipe lines.  By 1924 the Dinwoodie line fell by the wayside and the primary name of Kaywoodie was the mainstay pipe line and the company came to be known by that name.  Little is known about the early activities of the KBB Company which started in 1851 by the German born Kaufman brothers.  The company had several locations but was centered in the New York City region throughout its production history.  The expansion of the KKB Company following the gold rush I find fascinating:

When one of the men from the New York office got “gold fever”, he carried a large supply of pipes with him to California that he sold along the way. This early “national distribution” did much to build the reputation of KBB. By the late 1800’s, branches of KBB were opened in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and St. Louis with family and friends acting as agents. The trademarks, for the inlaid cloverleaf and the cloverleaf with the KBB initials inside, were issued in 1881. 

In 1935, KBB boasted of being the largest pipe making facility in the world with 500 employees and a production of 10,000 pipes per day from their facility in West New York, New Jersey.  In 1955, Kaywoodie was acquired by S. M. Frank & Co. (See Link) and continues to the present with well-known names Yello-BoleReiss-PremierWilliam Demuth CompanyMedico, Heritage (Heritage Pipes Inc.), along with Kaywoodie (Link).

It is difficult to date the Kaywoodie before me.  The only identifying marker is the traditional white shamrock on the stem.  There are no other markings that I see.  To the left, a 1964-65 Kaywoodie Dealer Catalog from Pipepages.com shows a remarkable likeness to the Connoisseur line and the Author before me with the stem shamrock on the side rather than on the top as in a 1955 Kaywoodie catalogue (See LINK).  There is no clear indicator for dating the Kaywoodie Author, but this catalog may put me in the ballpark.

With a better understanding of the Kaywoodie name, I take a closer look at the Author.  The good news is that the stem is in good shape with little tooth chatter.  The classic Kaywoodie patented Synchro-Stem which boasts that “metal-to-metal contact prevents binding and sticking” from a 1955 catalogue.  The stummel, however, is a different story.  The rim is beat up significantly, and I detect what might be cracks in the stummel.  Looking back at the eBay pictures provided by the seller, it made it very difficult to see what I seen now.  There appear to be two cracks, across from each other on the front and on the back of the rim.  I take a few closeups.

At this point, I’m not sure what I’m seeing.  Are the cracks superficial or do the run deeply into the briar.  It’s curious also that they seem to be opposites – perhaps part of the same trauma or what?  I will need to clean the chamber and rim to see more clearly the depth of the problem.  After spreading paper towel to minimize cleanup, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to work on the fire chamber.  I use 2 or the 4 blades available, starting first with the smallest.  I fine tune the reaming job with the Savinelli pipe knife then sand the chamber with coarse 120 grade sanding paper then 240 grade.  I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean the carbon dust.  I take some close-ups of the chamber revealing some heat fissures and evidence that the crack seems to run through the bowl – especially the crack on the back-side of the bowl.  I continue with the external cleaning using Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads.  I also employ a brass bristle brush to work on the rim which is really beat up and scorched.  The cleaning reveals more of the damage to the rim as well as the cracks I will need to address.  I’m guessing that the stummel cracks were caused by excessive heating of the briar.  I decide to clean the internals of the stummel using cotton swabs and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.  I also employ a straight needle file to scrape the walls of the mortise to dig out the gunk and tar.  I like to take care of the dirty work before continuing with the externals.  This also gives me time to think about how to approach the stummel repair.  The pictures show the progress which is slow – the internals are really gummed up. 

The day is coming to an end so I decide to employ a kosher salt and alcohol soak to make progress with the internals – while I sleep!  I use kosher salt so not to leave an iodine after-taste.  I stretch and twist a cotton ball to create a thinner ‘string’ of cotton to stuff down the narrow mortise opening through the metal plate of the Kaywoodie.  This cotton string will act as a wick to draw out the oils.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt and cover the opening with my palm and give it a shake to displace the salt.  Using a large eyedropper, I introduce isopropyl 95% to the bowl until it surfaces over the salt.  I leave the stummel in an egg crate and turn the lights out – another day is done.  The next morning, the salt/alcohol soak has done the job.  The salt has discolored as well as the cotton wick.  I dump the used salt into the waste basket, thumping the stummel on my palm.  I wipe the chamber out with paper towel and using a long-bristled brush remove the excess salt from the internals.   I then return to using cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl 95% to complete the cleaning.  The pictures show the progress.

After sending an email off to Steve to get some advice on the stummel cracks and the stinger/tenon system of this older Kaywoodie, I put the stummel aside to work on the stem.  I wasn’t exactly sure how the stinger on the stem which screws into the metal shank plate comes off – and off it must come if one is to adequately clean the stem – and keep it cleaned!  Steve’s email was helpful with the question whether the stinger had 3 holes or 4 – 4 would indicate an older system according to Steve.  Ok, another clue to the age of this old boy. I look and discover 4 holes on the end ball of the stinger which indicated to Steve that the stinger may be threaded and screws into the metal tenon.  Taking a closer look, there does appear to be a seam marking the tenon and stinger contact point.  Steve’s advice was to heat the tenon and twisting the stinger to release it.  I take a couple of pictures to show what I’m seeing.Holding the stinger over a lit candle, after a few tests to twist, the entire tenon unscrewed from the stem.  By the appearance of the seam, I’m thinking that the stinger will separate from the tenon and needs to be removed for ease of cleaning.  With another quick note off to Steve, I’m cautious because I don’t want to damage the tenon and Steve has seen a few more of these than I!  I clean the tenon with alcohol and a cotton pad and then follow this with 0000 steel wool to finish cleaning the tenon/stinger. To work on the oxidation of the stem I drop the stem into an OxiClean bath to let it soak for several hours.  The pictures show the progress. After several hours, I retrieve the stem from the OxiClean bath.  The stem shows little oxidation after the soak.  Using 0000 steel wool I clear the layer raised by the OxiClean bath.  Then, using pipe cleaners and long-bristled brushes, dipped on isopropyl 95%, I clean the internals of the stem.  The airway is tight and I resort to the long-bristled brushes to push through the airway.  After cleaning the airway, I want to alleviate some of the tightness of the airway by expanding the slot area.  I use a pointed needle file and insert the point into the slot and carefully apply abrasive pressure to the edges of the slot.  The pictures show the progress. The upper bit shows latent bite dents – the lower as well but much less.  I use the heating technique to expand the vulcanite.  With a lighted candle, I pass the end of the stem over the flame – in a back and forth motion, not allowing the stem to cook by holding it stationary over the flame.  After a few passes, the idea came to my mind that while the vulcanite is pliable to insert a pipe cleaner in the airway to expand it a bit allowing pipe cleaners to pass through without as much fuss.  The effort seems to work – both for expanding the vulcanite and the airway.  There remains a ‘footprint’ of the bite dent, but not as much.  Using 240 grit sanding paper I work the dents out on the upper and lower bit.  Following the 240 grit paper, I use 600 grit and then finishing with 0000 steel wool.  I reattach the tenon/stinger to the stem and clock it so that the stem tightens at the correct angle.  I tighten the tenon one full turn less to make it easier to remove and therefore, much easier to clean the airway.  I like the results – good progress on this nice-looking KW Author.  The pictures show the progress. I turn my attention back to the stummel, and take a few more up-close pictures.  The burn damage is significant and the chamber is out of round.  Heat fissures are evident in the chamber and I’ve already noted the cracks in the stummel which track over the rim into the chamber.  I can say with little doubt, this pipe was loved and used much by its former steward.  Yet, he’s taken quite a beating.  My plan is to fill the heat fissures in the fire chamber with a coat of J. B. Weld.  With Steve’s input, I’ll drill back-holes at the terminus points of both fore and aft cracks to prevent further crack creep.  I will fill each hole with CA glue as well as apply a penetration layer of CA glue over the path of the crack to seal the cracks.  Before I start these repairs, I work on the external rim area with the goal of cleaning up the damage, re-balancing the stummel’s look as much as I can through a combination of topping and sanding.  When the stummel starts looking human again, if this is possible, I will then again assess the cracks and their needs.  All in all, the stummel’s undamaged briar is quite attractive – nice grain.  I hope I can return this Kaywoodie up to specs so that Jen can be proud to gift this old boy to her men-folk! I start with a coarse sanding sponge to see what progress can be made.  I follow by gently topping the stummel with 240 grit paper on a chopping board and then again return to the coarse sanding sponge to ‘reduce’ the edge of the topped stummel.  What develops is a technique of gradually reshaping the rim area to give the stummel a more uniform look.  I cycled through a light topping and then returning to the coarse sanding sponge several times.  The pictures show the process. As the rim starts taking shape, the fact that the bowl is out of round becomes even more distinctive.  To shape incrementally a truer ‘round’ I use a coarse 120 grit sanding paper rolled up and I sand the internal bowl at the point where the rounding was needed.  I gradually work around the internal chamber wall careful not to lean to aggressively into beveling an angle on the internal rim at this point.  I want to address first the unevenness in the walls of the fire chamber.  After doing this, I move more toward the top of the chamber and then create an inner bevel which gradually helps to round out the rim.  As I work on the internal sanding, I recycle as before, doing a gentle topping followed by the coarse sanding sponge to even and balance the whole.  The pictures show this gradual process starting with the ‘unrounded’ bowl. While the completed shaping is not perfect, I’m pleased that the stummel has regained proportion with the removal of the damaged briar and the gradual shaping through sanding and topping.  Looking very good at this point!Before I move forward finishing the stummel, I need to do the crack repairs.  The first thing I do, with the aid of a magnifying glass is mark the terminus points of the forward and aft cracks on the stummel.  The mark is made by creating a dimple using sharp dental probe.  This helps to guide the drill point when I create the ‘back hole’.  Using a 1mm sized drill bit mounted on the Dremel, I drill holes at the terminus points of the cracks.  With a somewhat steady hand, the work is successful. With the ‘back-holes’ drilled I drop-fill the holes with CA glue using a toothpick, and sprinkle briar over the hole.  I also apply a line of CA glue over the crack itself to strengthen the repair and seal the cracks.  The CA glue I use is extra thin and will seep into the cracks – hopefully.  I put the stummel aside for the night for the patches to cure.  The pictures show the patch process.The next day, the patches have fully cured and I use a rounded and flat needle files to work on the ‘forward and aft’ cracks where the back-holes were drilled. When I bring the CA glue patch mound down to briar surface level, I use 240 grit sanding paper to smooth it further and to blend with the briar.  Once this is completed, I again use the coarse sanding sponge and do a light topping to freshen the lines of the rim after the repair work.  I then roll a piece of 240 grit paper and again freshen the rim’s internal bevel.  The pictures show the progress. I proceed to smooth and blend the stummel by using a medium grade sanding sponge followed by a light grade sanding sponge.  The picture shows these last two stages and I take pictures of the finished crack repairs.  During the staining, I’ll seek to blend these further – especially the aft crack. At this juncture, I repair the fire chamber before continuing to the external stummel surface. Earlier I describe using J. B. Weld to coat the fire chamber, filling the heat fissures that had developed over years of use.  The J. B. Weld compound will also provide a protective barrier against the heat.  Later, I will coat the chamber with ‘pipe mud’ to provide a foundation for a new cake to develop to protect the chamber walls.  The few times I’ve used J. B. Weld, I always mixed too much.  I’ll try to moderate this time around.  After cleaning the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%, I place equal parts of the J. B. Weld components on an index card – hardener and steel.  The directions state that after mixing the two, one has about four minutes before they start setting.  I insert a pipe clean into the draft hole to prevent the Weld mixture to plug the airway.  I mix the components with a tooth pick then I place a dollop of the compound into the chamber walls.  I use my pinky finger to spread the mixture evenly and pull out excess.  After a bit, the mixture is setting up.  I rotate the pipe cleaner out when the tackiness of the mixture has firmed up enough that it will remain in place.  I set the stummel upright in an egg carton and let it cure overnight.  The pictures show the process. Turning now to the stem restoration, I utilize a plastic disc I fabricated to protect the shoulders of the stem during the micromesh process.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stem, then follow with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each cycle of three I apply a coat of Obsidian oil to the stem to revitalize the vulcanite.  The stem looks good.  The pictures show the progress. A new day has arrived in Bulgaria and I turn again to the stummel.  All the major repair work is completed and I begin to prepare the stummel’s surface for a stain finish.  Using 1500 to 2400 micromesh pads I wet sand the stummel.  Amazingly, after this first cycle, I see what I did not see before – Kaywoodie [over] Standard nomenclature on the left side of the shank and what appears to be 13B on the right side.  I take a picture to mark this – unfortunately, I did not see it sooner to avoid sanding in that area.  Checking again with Pipedia’s Collector’s Guide to Kaywoodie Pipes, 13B is the shape number identifying this as an Apple.  Looking at the catalogs in the same article, with the stem shamrock on the side, I’m feeling pretty confident identifying this pipe from the 1960s. I follow this by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  I never grow tired of seeing the grain emerge as the micromesh cycles do their magic.  The pictures show the process. To encourage better blending by hiding the cracks and repairs, I use a mixture of Fiebing’s Dark and Light Brown Leather Dyes.  I use 2 parts light to 1 part dark.  I don’t want to go too dark and hide the beautiful grain that has emerged.  When I look at the original hue of the Kaywoodie (the 1960s catalogs above I think is a pretty good guess regarding the age of this KW) leveraged toward the lighter hues – yet, I do want to mask the cracks. After mixing the dyes, I heat the stummel using a hot air gun to open the briar making it more receptive to the dye.  With the stummel heated, using a cork in the bowl as a handle, I liberally apply the dye over the stummel surface.  Following this, I fire the wet dye with a lit candle and the alcohol immediately ‘flames’ and burns off setting the stain.  I repeat the same process a few minutes later.  After the second firing, I put the stummel aside for several hours.  The pictures show the staining process. Some hours later, I’m ready to ‘unwrap’ the fired layer to discover what the briar has done with the dye.  Using a felt buffing wheel, I mount it on the Dremel and set the speed to the slowest.  After purging the buffing wheel on the edge of the metal tightening wrench, using Tripoli compound I methodically begin removing the fired layer by not applying much downward pressure, and allowing the RPMs and the compound to do the work. When I complete the removal of the fired layer with Tripoli, I take a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% and wipe down the stummel.  I do this not only to blend the dye but also to lighten it.  I then move to Blue Diamond compound.  I use a cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on the Dremel, increase the speed by one notch, and move in circular motions over the entire stummel – again, as with the Tripoli compound, I do not apply a lot of downward pressure on the buffing wheel but allow the RPMs and compound to buff up the surface.  When completed with the Blue Diamond, I use a felt cloth to hand buff the stummel to remove compound dust before moving to the wax phase.  The pictures show the compound process. Before finishing the external surface with carnauba wax, I apply a layer of ‘pipe mud’ in the fire chamber.  This creates a layer to encourage the development of a carbon cake in the bowl.  I use a mixture of sour cream and two 260mg capsules of activated charcoal powder. I mix the sour cream and charcoal powder with a wooden stick and then, after inserting a pipe cleaner through the draft hole, apply a dollop of pipe mud mix in the chamber.  I then use my pinky finger to spread the mud evenly and draw out the excess.  When finished, I put the stummel aside to let the pipe mud set up.  The pictures show the mud process. With pipe mud set, I reattach stem and stummel.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, set at speed 2, with the fastest being 5, and apply carnauba wax to the stem and stummel.  After applying several coats, I switch the Dremel to a clean cotton cloth buffing tool and again buff the pipe.  I do this to work in pockets of wax that were missed and to raise the shine.  Following this, I hand buff the pipe with a micromesh cloth to raise the shine more.

This Kaywoodie Standard Author has turned out in classic form.  I’m very pleased with results of the rim repair and the rich, ‘smoking jacket’ finish that masks the crack repairs.  The Author has a solid presence in the hand as I hold it – a classic shape that will provide a new steward with several more years of service.  As I mentioned before, Jen’s purchase of this Kaywoodie Standard Author benefits the work we do here in Bulgaria with women who have been sexually exploited and trafficked, the Daughters of Bulgaria.  If you would like more information about my restorations check out The Pipe Steward.  Thanks for joining me!

 

 

 

 

 

Why is it a Second? A Fiammata 128 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came from the recent estate sale my brother attended. The pipeman whose pipes were being sold had good taste as can be seen from the pipes I have posted recently from my workbench. This one is no exception. It has stunning straight grain around the bowl and a few small well-hidden fills. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the name FIAMMATA and on the right side it is stamped 128 over Italy. There are no other markings on the pipe. The stem is lightly oxidized and has the now familiar tooth marks as the other pipes in this estate.The shape number, the Italy stamp and the overall look of the pipe told me that it was a Savinelli pipe but I was not sure. You know how when you are handling a pipe of unknown make you just have a feeling about its origin? That is what happened as I turned this one over in my hands to examine it. I did some digging on Pipedia and found the information to confirm my suspicions about the pipe being a Savinelli made produce. Here is the link to the section of the Pipedia article on Savinelli Sub-brands: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli#Savinelli_made_sub-brands.2C_seconds_.26_order_productions

On the Sub-brands list you will see the name Fiammata. Next to the name it says that the sub-brand is a “Rejected “Giubileo D’Oro” – Straight Grain”. That matches the look of this pipe. I have to say though that the quality control people were very good on the day this pipe was made as the tiny sandpits and fills that I can see on the bowl were hard to identify as they followed the grain on the pipe so well. I thought it might be interesting to check out the Giubileo D’Oro pipes to see what I could learn about the destiny of this pipe before the flaws were noted and the pipe was rejected. The next photo of an advertisement for the brand gives information that I found extremely helpful when looking at this pipe in terms of shape, colour and finish. The top pipe in the photo is the 128 which is the same shape I am working on at the moment. The grain on my pipe is far better than the one in the photo.I have included a copy of the Savinelli Shape Chart so that you can see the shape of the pipe in hand. It is stamped 128 and can be seen on the first column of the chart. It is a tapered stem billiard. I circled the shape in red on the chart below.Jeff took some close up photos of the rim top to show the condition of the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on the top of the rim. From the photos it is hard to know if the inner rim edge is damaged because of the buildup of lava.Jeff took the next series of photos to show the grain on the bottom and both sides of the bowl. It is really quite beautiful grain. Look closely and see if you can see the small fills. The next two photos show the stamping on the shank of the pipe. The first photo is the right side of the shank and the second is the left side.The final two photos that Jeff sent to me show the familiar tooth marks on the top and the underside of the stem at the button.My brother did his usual amazing clean up of the pipe. He reamed the bowl and scrubbed the lava off the rim. He scrubbed the finish with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with water. He cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The next four photos show the condition of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver. Jeff was able to get the lava off the rim and leave the rim looking almost new. The inner beveled edge of the rim is flawless as well. It looks undamaged and there are no burn marks on the bevel or on the rim top. There is slight darkening on the back of the top but it is minimal.He soaked the stem in Oxyclean for a few hours and scrubbed it clean. The oxidation came to the surface and looked speckled in the next two photos. The photos also show the tooth marks and chatter clearly.I sanded the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the surface oxidation and smooth out the tooth chatter and tooth marks.I cleaned the top and bottom edge of the button with alcohol and used black super glue to fill in the deeper spots on both sides of the button. I filled them in and set the stem aside to dry.I sanded the bowl rim and sides with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and repeated wiping down the bowl with the damp cotton pad. The photos below tell the story of the polishing. Look closely and see if you can see some of the small fills. I sanded the repaired area on the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the excess hardened super glue and blend it into the surface of the button. I ran a pipe cleaner through the shank and the airway in the stem to remove any of the sanding debris from the airways. They came out very clean.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads. I wiped down the stem with Obsidian Oil and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I repeated wiping down the stem with the oil. After sanding it with the 12000 grit pad I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem on the shank and buffed it with red Tripoli to work out the rest of the oxidation that still remained on the stem near the shank end. It took some careful buffing to work it out but it finally came out. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond to polish the stem even more. I buffed the entire pipe with the Blue Diamond on the wheel to polish out the minute scratches in the rubber and the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax with the wax buffing pad. I polished it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The shape and condition of the pipe is very nice and the grain stands out much like it would have if the pipe had made the grade for a Giubileo D’Oro pipe. There is a faint stamp of triangles on the side of the stem. The dimensions of the pipe are as follows Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The pipe is a made in such a way that it follows the stunningly grained piece of briar perfectly. The shape of the stem works with the flow of the pipe. The black of the stem and natural finish of the briar work well together. This pipe will soon be available on the rebornpipes store. If you want to add it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

Just a few minor details – a Broken Tenon and a Cracked Shank on a Hardcastle Special Selection 7 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a reader of rebornpipes regarding a pipe he was restoring. It was a beautiful little Hardcastle Bulldog that is stamped on the left underside Hardcastle over Special Selection over the number 7. He had finished cleaning and restoring it and it was looking good. He had done a thorough job, as I would see later in this post. He went on to tell me about how he had repeated my misadventure when buffing the pipe. Not long ago I posted about having finished a pipe and having the buffer snatch it from my hands and fling it against the floor. I snapped the tenon off a pipe I had finished while doing the final buffing. He wrote that he had done the same thing exactly. He wanted to know if I would be willing to put a new tenon on the stem. He noted a hairline crack at the shank/bowl junction and wondered if I would be willing to deal with that at the same time. We wrote back and forth and he sent me the following photos. The first one shows the cleaned up pipe ready for buffing.The next photo he sent shows the crack at the top of the shank on both topsides of the diamond. It stopped on both sides before it got to the edge of the diamond.The third photo shows the stem with the snapped tenon. He did a far better job snapping it off than I had done on mine. My broken tenon was jagged and needed to be sanded smooth before I could replace the tenon.He sent the pipe to me Vancouver for me to work on. It is funny in that it took a longer time to arrive from Idaho than pipes I have received from the east coast. But when it arrived I took photos of it. I have a container of threaded tenons here that I use for replacement tenons on pipes. I like the way they grip in the drilled out stem. Once they are anchored in place with glue on the threads, there is little chance that they will come out. I went through my tenons and found one that would fit the mortise with a little adjustment – the fit was tight and it was a little long for the shank.I set up my cordless drill and chose a bit that was close to the size of the airway in the stem. I have learned to work my way gradually through bits until I get to the size of the threaded portion of the new tenon. Doing it this way keeps the stem material from chipping or breaking away with the pressure of the drill bit. I turn the stem onto the stationary drill by hand so that I can control the depth of the bit. I mark the bit with scotch tape ahead of time to measure the depth of the drilled out airway that I need to have when I am finished.Once I had the airway opened enough to take the threaded end I used a tap to cut threads on inside of the newly opened airway. I turned the tenon in place on the stem to check the fit against the face of the stem.I checked the fit against the end of the mortise and found that the tenon was too long. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to bring it down to the correct length and cleaned up the end of the tenon with the topping board.I glued the new tenon in place in the stem with medium viscosity black superglue. It allows me time to adjust and align it so that it fits the mortise well and leaves no gaps.I set the stem aside overnight to allow the glue to cure. In the morning, I fine-tuned the fit so that it sat well in the shank. I chamfered/beveled the airway in the end of the new tenon to maximize the airflow into the stem.I put the stem in place in the shank and took photos of the newly repaired stem. This little Hardcastle Bulldog is a really beauty and extremely lightweight. The Cumberland stem looks good with the briar and gives the pipe an elegant appearance. I polished the stem and the tenon with micromesh sanding pads to remove any remaining scratches. I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the crack on the shank/bowl junction. I examined the crack with a bright light and a lens to make sure I could see the ends of the crack on both sides of the shank. It was a tight hairline crack so I just needed to stop it from spreading further. I drilled the end of the crack on both sides of the top of the shank using my Dremel and a microdrill bit. I slow the Dremel down to a speed of 10 so that I can carefully put the holes at the crack ends without it either going too deep in the shank or bouncing across the surface of the shank. It did not take too long to drill the holes.I took it back to the work table and took photos showing the two drill holes. The plan now was to use a dental pick to see if I could open the crack at all. I wanted to be able to put superglue into the crack to seal the two sides. It did not budge so I scratched it with the pick to provide a rough surface for the glue to adhere.I ran a bead of clear super glue the length of the crack from drill hole to drill hole. I put a drop of glue into each drill hole to fill them in. Since they are so tiny, I don’t bother with briar dust. I used the end of the dental pick to push the glue deep into the drill hole and refilled it to a bubble.Once the glue hardened I sanded it smooth to match the surface of the shank using 220 and 320 grit sandpaper folded to fit the angle of the junction. I sanded the area until the repair was smooth with the surface of the shank. I wanted the transition to be seamless. I took a close up photo of the repair on both sides of the shank to show what I had to deal with in terms of blending it into the finish of the bowl and shank.I sanded the repair with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches left behind by the sand paper. I worked through 1500-4000 grit pads to polish the shank. I polished the gold band with the higher grades of micromesh as well to give them a richer gleam. The repairs were slightly lighter in colour than the rest of the shank and the bowl so they would need to be restained. I restained the repaired area with a medium brown stain pen to blend it into the colour of the bowl and shank. I buffed the stained areas by hand with a microfibre cloth.I wrote to the pipeman who owned it and told him I had finished the repair to the shank and the stem and was touching up the stain. He wrote back to say that I had carte blanche to finish the pipe in any stain I saw fit. That was the go ahead I needed. I wanted to highlight the red hues in the briar that stood out in the bright light. I also knew that a red stain would allow me to blend in the repaired areas on the shank/bowl junction better. So I chose to stain the pipe with Danish Oil with Cherry stain. I am really happy with how the red of the stain works to highlight the grain. It also goes really well with the Cumberland stem and its red striations.I warmed the briar and applied the stain with a cotton pad. The nature of Danish Oil stain is that it highlights grain and breathes life into the wood. I let it sit for 10 minutes and hand buffed it off the bowl and shank. I took the next four photos of the finished bowl once I had hand buffed it. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel to polish out any remaining scratches in the finish of the briar or the Cumberland. I gave them multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the finish and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I hand buffed the gold band on the shank with a jeweler’ cloth to polish and shine it. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I really like the finished look of the pipe. It is a beautiful and well executed Bulldog and it should serve its owner well. I plan on letting him know that if it does not fit his collection it will always have a home here. Thanks for looking.

A difficult trust: Gift of a Grandfather – A BBB Double Star Made in England


Blog by Dal Stanton

When I study the venerable pipe on my work table, it is not a glamorous display of briar and silver bands.  Some might call it a basket pipe.  The two stars imprinted on the shank were an indication of a working man’s pipe – not high quality, but among those pipes accessible to normal, if not common, people who work, live, love and as is the case with us all, die.  This unremarkable Apple shaped, BBB [diamond over] Double Star, MADE IN ENGLAND [over] 152, is remarkable because of the story it represents.   I enjoy restoring ‘estate’ pipes because they were left to others and these pipes carry with them stories and memories of loved ones who once befriended and valued them.  Greg heard from my son, Josiah, who are college buddies, that Josiah’s old man (my words not theirs!) restored ‘old’ pipes.   This ‘old’ pipe came to Greg from his grandfather through his mother.  Josiah’s email came to me asking what I could do with these pictures from Greg. My understanding is that Greg was a bit reluctant at first to send his pipe off to Bulgaria to be restored, but after Josiah directed him to some of the restorations I’ve done, he felt he could trust me with the heirloom that had come to him.  Knowing that this pipe was from his grandfather I asked that Greg send me information about his grandfather so that I not only could place the pipe better in history, but Greg’s grandfather as well.  This is the letter he sent me:

Hi Mr. Stanton,

Thank you so much for agreeing to restore my grandfather’s pipe. I am sorry for the delay in getting you the below information, but it’s been a crazy couple of weeks.

My mother inherited the pipe from my grandfather when he passed away in 1998. I saw it in the china cabinet one day and asked her if I could have it, since I had taken up pipe smoking. She kindly agreed. She doesn’t really know when my grandfather got the pipe, but she said he must have bought it in Hong Kong.

My grandfather was from Hong Kong, and only emigrated to the United States in the 1980s. He was a malaria inspector for the Hong Kong government for his entire working career. He must have gotten the pipe at the latest in the late 1940s or early 1950s, as my mother remembers him having it when she was a child. He never smoked the pipe when I knew him, but from its condition, I assume it was well used at an earlier period in his life.

Having graduated from the University of Georgia Law School in Athens, Georgia, passed his bars and currently serves as a law clerk to a federal magistrate judge in Augusta, Georgia, AND as a young married man, I can understand why Greg “took up” smoking pipes!  Pipes are wonderful companions for blooming attorneys!  His letter concluded with an agreement to the cost of the restoration would benefit our work with the Daughters of Bulgaria!  Thank you, Greg!

The information Greg received from his mother was invaluable for placing this BBB in time and space.  Pipedia’s article about BBB is helpful.  BBB in the mid-1800s originally stood for “Blumfeld’s Best Briars”, but after the death of Blumfeld, the Adolph Frankau Company took over the company and BBB gradually became “Britain’s Best Briars”.

The “BBB Two Star” rating also is referenced in the same article in a discussion of quality descriptors for BBB pipes:

In the Thirties, the top-of-the-range one becomes “BBB Best Make” with alternatives like “Super Stopping” and “Ultonia Thule”. The BBB Carlton, sold with the detail with 8/6 in 1938, is equipped with a system complicated out of metal, system which equipped the BBB London Dry too. Blue Peter was not estampillées BBB but BBB Ultonia, and the BBB Two Star (* *) become the bottom-of-the-range one. 

When Greg’s pipe arrived in Bulgaria, thanks to a visitor’s willingness to carry it across the Atlantic and European continent, I unwrapped it and put it on my work desk and took these pictures to fill in the gaps. At PipePhil.eu an example of the BBB Two Star marking is pictured along with the stinger/tube style extending into the chamber as Greg’s grandfather’s BBB does ( as seen above).In Pipes Magazine, I found a thread discussing the dating of the BBB Two Star.  One threader’s opinion, ‘jguss’ corroborates Greg’s mother’s recollections:

My guess is that the Two Star line started at the end of WWII; the first mention I’ve found so far is dated 1945, which at least gives a tpq (that is, an approximate dating). I know the line lasted at least into the early sixties.

It is not too difficult to speculate about the provenance of Greg’s pipe.  During WW2, briar became a scarce commodity throughout Europe and pipe manufacturing companies made do with what they could acquire.  Two Star BBBs would be lower end but more than likely during this time, a very close second when rations were short.  Added to this backdrop is the origin of our story in Hong Kong.  Hong Kong, a British holding since 1841 (see LINK), lost control of Hong Kong during WW2 to Japan in 1941 during the Battle of Hong Kong.  Undoubtedly, Greg’s grandfather would have experienced this first hand.  When Japan unconditionally surrendered in 1945, the British regained control of Hong Kong, but to counter Chinese pressures to control Hong Kong, reforms were introduced that broadened and increased the stake of local inhabitants of Hong Kong:

Sir Mark Young, upon his return as Governor in early May 1946, pursued political reform known as the “Young Plan“, believing that, to counter the Chinese government’s determination to recover Hong Kong, it was necessary to give local inhabitants a greater stake in the territory by widening the political franchise to include them.[19] (Link)

During the years following the Second World War, the same article describes unprecedented economic development which resulted in the economic powerhouse that Hong Kong became.  This period would have been while Greg’s grandfather was working as a malaria inspector for the government of Hong Kong and during which he acquired this BBB Two Star.  The smaller Apple shape would have served him well as he performed his inspection duties but given the ‘stem forensics’ pictured above, he probably chewed on it a bit as well while he worked!

With a greater sense of the story that this BBB Two Star tells, from England, to Hong Kong, to America, and now to Bulgaria, I’m anxious to restore this precious family gift from Greg’s grandfather.  At Greg’s request, he’s hoping for a pipe that is as good as new and ready for a new lifetime of service.  Yet, with all restorations, undoubtedly there will be some marks and blemishes remaining – these an ongoing testament to the memory of those who those who went before.

The first order of approach is with the stinger.  When the pipe arrived, the stinger was already separated from the stem.  The stinger extends from the stem through the mortise into the chamber itself through a metal tube air draft hole.  Using a pair of plyers, I wrap a piece of cloth around the end to pull gently to dislodge the stinger from the mortise.  I can see in the mortise that there appears to be a metal sheath that the stinger is lodged in – at least, that is what it appears to be.  The stinger is not budging and I do not want to break the stinger off.  To try to loosen things up, I pour some isopropyl 95% in the chamber to allow it to soak into the draft hole.  Hopefully, in time, this will loosen the stinger. The alcohol soak did not work.  In fact, a few weeks have transpired since writing the words above.  This stinger has given me quite the challenge.  In the back of my mind constantly, is the concern that I not leverage too much pressure pulling on the stinger.  I’m concerned about damaging the shank.  After soaking the internals for some time with alcohol, I pulled with plyers hoping to break the grip.  I also attempt heating the stummel with a heat gun in hope of dislodging the stinger.  I also heat the protruding part of the stinger with a candle, hoping that this would break the bond.  It did not.   I also was concerned about the candle flame close to the briar while trying to heat the stinger.  I craft a tinfoil shield, but this was not successful.  Unfortunately, I singed the end of the shank and had to remove the damage by ‘topping’ the shank end, which leads to a bit of work lining up the stem and shank later.  As you might expect, the protruding end of the stinger did not hold up under the pressure and eventually broke off. After the stinger protrusion broke off, and after a second email to Steve for input, I’m at the point of using a drill bit in another attempt to remove the bonded stinger.  Starting with a very small bit, I hand turn the bit to allow the drill to find the center of the stinger and gradually, remove the stinger introducing the next larger drill bit.  The end of the broken stinger begins at about 1/4-inch-deep into the mortise.  Unfortunately, this method is not working either because the drill bit will not bite into the metal and remain straight.  At the end of the stinger slot that I’m boring into with the drill bit, my efforts are flummoxed by the stinger’s design.  It has a slanted metal airflow deflector that causes the drill bit to veer off mark.  After breaking the end of the drill bit in the slot (ugh!), and digging it out with needle nose pliers, I sit and begin to think I was facing failure.  Nothing was working.  I’m introducing more problems to the restoration as I try unsuccessfully to solve the stuck stinger problem.  I can’t move forward and I’m stuck and begin to compose an apology letter to Greg in my mind.  UNTIL, on a fancy, I insert a small flat head screw driver into the slot at the end of the broken stinger 1/4-inch-deep in the mortise and I twist it gently counter-clockwise, and it snaps.  Suddenly, it was loose and I easily extract the ‘middle’ of Grandpa’s old stinger – I’m sure he was the last one to see this artifact!  I see daylight through the mortise and I’m hoping that it might also be a metaphoric ‘light at the end of the tunnel’!  I’ve not forgotten that the other end of the stinger remains lodged in the draft hole tube at the foot of the chamber.  Thankfully, a larger drill bit was the perfect size and it reaches into the mortise and hand turning the bit, it clears the rest of the stinger shrapnel.  Finally!  Oh my….  I’ll be saving the stinger debris for Greg.  This BBB will continue without difficulty stingerless.  The pictures show the results. In the interest of full disclosure, these words are coming weeks after.  Why the hiatus?  Life’s normal twists and turns, work, some wonderful travel to Crete for an organizational conference, to Athens (not in Georgia) for a consultation on the Eastern Orthodox Church, AND my growing frustration with Greg’s grandfather’s pipe’s restoration as more complications arrived!  I’ll try to catch you up to the present:

With the stinger removed, I was anxious to continue the restoration with a ‘normal’ pattern – the stem goes into the Oxi-Clean bath to deal with the oxidation in the stem.  After some hours, the stem is removed from the bath and I wet sand with 600 grade sanding paper removing the raised oxidation followed by 0000 steel wool. To clean and protect the BBB stamping on the stem, I use a non-abrasive Mr. Clean ‘Magic Eraser’ sponge.  The pictures show the progress.The next step is to re-seat the tenon into the mortise.  After the arduous process of removing the stinger, and after singing the shank end with a candle flame, and after ‘topping’ the shank to remove the damaged briar, the tenon and mortise needed to be re-wedded with the new realities.  The tenon was too large for full insertion into the shank.  Using a combination of reducing the tenon size with sanding paper and steel wool, sanding and filing the throat of the mortise, and using a rounded needle file to cut a new internal mortise openning bevel to accommodate the broader tenon base, I patiently, slowly, methodically worked to re-seat the tenon in the mortise which included working and then testing the new fit – GENTLY!  I suppose the fact that I said to myself, ‘Dal, careful, don’t crack the shank’, at least a 1000 times only made the sinking feeling more intense when I heard the sickening sound during what proved to be my last, ‘gentle testing’ of the tenon inserted into the mortise.  The hairline crack is pictured below that I took only a day ago – I couldn’t bear to take it then, when it happened.  I was sickened and put Greg’s pipe aside.  I needed some time to work through my own sense of failure of the trust given me to restore this family heirloom.  Now, after several weeks, I’ve regrouped and have taken up Greg’s pipe again.  The travels that I described above during this time in some ways felt more like Jonah running from Nineveh not wanting to face the scene of his calling and his sense of failure!  Though, my trip did prove beneficial – I sold some of my finished pipes to colleagues to benefit and raise the awareness of the Daughters of Bulgaria that The Pipe Steward supports.  I’ve included my Nineveh travels below for you who may not be familiar with ‘my world’, the Balkans – Sofia to Crete to Athens and back. Before moving forward, I needed to repair the cracked shank.  With the help of a magnifying glass, I locate the terminus of the crack and mark it by creating an indentation with a sharp dental probe.  The arrow to the left below marks this.  Using the Dremel tool, I mount a 1mm sized bit and drill a hole at that point – but not going through!  This hole acts like a controlled back-fire to stop the progress of a forest fire.  This will not allow the crack to continue creeping.  With the use of a toothpick, I spot-drop Hot Stuff CA Instant Glue in the hole and along the line of the crack which I expanded microscopically by partially inserting the tenon into the mortise.  This allows the CA glue better penetration to seal the crack.  I remove the stem immediately after the application of CA.  With the CA glue still wet, I apply briar dust to/in the hole and along the crack to encourage better blending.  The pictures show the progress. After some hours allowing the CA glue to cure on the shank repair, using a round grinding stone bit mounted on the Dremel, I reestablish an adequate and uniform internal bevel on the end of the shank to accommodate the base of the tenon when it is fully inserted into the mortise.  My theory is this is what caused the crack – lack of a sufficient internal bevel giving room for the slightly enlarged tenon as it merges with the stem proper.  With the Dremel engaged at the slowest setting, I’m careful to apply minimal pressure as I rotate the ball a bit to make sure it’s centered.  It looks good – the pictures show the progress.Due to a lapse of sorts and the intensity of my focus on re-seating the stem again without re-cracking the shank, I failed (or perhaps, had little desire) to take any pictures.  The short of it is, the stem and stummel have been reunited after some difficult times.  Also, not pictured are some of the basic steps: reaming the fire chamber of carbon cake buildup, cleaning the internals of the stummel and stem with cotton swabs and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%, and cleaning the externals of the stummel with Murphy’s Soap.  Again, picking up the trail, pictured below is the micromesh pad process with the stem.  Using pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand the stem, followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  I follow each cycle with an application of Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite.  The stummel surface shows quite a bit of pitting in the first picture shown again below.  The rim also shows nicks. On the larger pits shown below on the heel of the stummel, I spot-fill with a toothpick using CA glue and shorten the curing time by using an accelerator spray on the fills.  After filing and sanding the fills to the briar surface, using a progression of 3 sanding sponges from coarse, medium to light, I work out most the remaining pitting over the stummel surface.  Using 600 grit paper on the chopping block, I also give a light topping to the rim to remove nicks and create fresh lines for the rim.  Following the topping, I introduce an internal bevel to the rim, first using a coarse 120 paper rolled tightly, then with 240 and 600.  The internal rim bevel to me, always adds a touch of class but also helps create softer lines which enhances this Apples shape.  The pictures show the unhindered progress! I now take micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and wet sand the stummel followed by dry sanding with micromesh pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000 taking a picture after each set to mark the progress.  I am careful to guard the BBB nomenclature on the shank sides.  As I move through these cycles, I realize that I have been so wrapped up in the technical aspects of this restoration for Greg, that I failed to see the beauty of this diminutive Apple shape.  The grain that emerges from Grandpa’s old timer is truly beautiful. Flame grain and swirls, with a few bird’s eyes accenting the whole – totally eye-catching for a Two Star sub-mark BBB I would say! To see the big picture to help determine the next steps, I reunite stem and stummel and stand back and take a good look.  This BBB Made in England is looking real good – in spite of everything!  I can see by the way the BBB Apple naturally sits on the surface, leaning slightly like a listing ship, but remaining upright, provides some clues regarding the significant pitting on the heel of the stummel – just off center. Greg’s grandfather undoubtedly and conveniently placed his pipe on a table or counter surface, or perhaps on a nearby crate, as he made his rounds as a malaria inspector for the province of Hong Kong.  The original BBB coloring leaned toward the favored darker hues of English pipe makers and client proclivities. I decide not to go that dark, but to stain the stummel using a light brown base with a touch of dark brown to tint it down that track a bit.  This will make for better blending, especially for the darker briar around the nomenclature on the shank.  Using Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye as the base, I add a touch of Fiebing’s Dark Brown.  Using a folded pipe cleaner in the shank as a handle, I begin by warming the stummel with a hot air gun to expand the briar making it more receptive to the dye.  After heated, I apply the dye mixture to the stummel generously aiming for total coverage.  I then fire the wet stummel with a lit candle igniting the aniline dye, burning off the alcohol and setting the pigment in the grain.  After a few minutes, I repeat the process concluding with firing the stummel.  I put the stummel aside to rest for several hours.  The pictures show the staining process – yes, you can see my blue fingers – I’ve started wearing latex gloves when I’m staining. After some hours, I’m looking forward to ‘unwrapping’ the fired stummel to reveal the stained briar beneath.  Using a felt buffing wheel mounted on the Dremel, set at the slowest speed, I use Tripoli compound to remove the initial layer.  Moving in a methodical, rotating pattern, I work my way around the stummel not apply a great deal of down-pressure on the wheel, but allowing the RPMs of the felt wheel and the compound to do the work. After removing the crusted layer with Tripoli, I wipe the surface with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  I do this not so much to lighten the finish, but to blend and even out the stain over the surface.  Following this, I mount a cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel, increase the speed slightly, and apply Blue Diamond – a slightly less abrasive compound.  After both compounds, I use a clean towel to hand buff the stummel to remove excess compound dust before applying the wax.  Pictures show the progress. Reattaching the stem and stummel, I apply several coats of carnauba wax to both.  Using a cotton cloth wheel, I set the speed of the Dremel to 2 with 5 being the fastest, I apply the carnauba and I like what I see.  With the carnauba wax applied, I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel and again buff the stummel and stem.  Finally, I apply a rigorous hand buff using a micromesh cloth to raise the shine more.

This BBB Double Star Apple has come a long way from England to Hong Kong to the US to Bulgaria, and now it’s ready to return to its new steward.  This restoration was a bit bumpy, but then, so is life.  I’m glad to help give this pipe a new lifetime and I hope Greg not only enjoys it, but that it provides a special connection with his past.  I’m sure Grandpa would be proud.  Thanks for joining me!