Tag Archives: fitting a stem

A Sad and Tired Looking Jobey Stromboli 440 Square Shank Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is one that came to us from a fellow we have bought pipes from in Brazil, Indiana, USA early in 2020 and I am finally getting to it. It is a nice looking Jobey rusticated, square shank billiard with a fancy acrylic stem. It is stamped on the underside of the shank Jobey [over] Stromboli. To the right of that is the stamped shape number 440. The yellow acrylic saddle stem was missing the brass inlaid Jobey oval. The pipe has a heavily rusticated finish with deeper random craters carved in the rusticated surface. The finish was absolutely filthy on this one with grime and dust deep in the crevices. There was a heavy cake in the bowl and a heavy overflow of lava onto the rim top. There were some nicks or at least worn spots on the outer edge of the rim but the rustic carved rim top makes it hard to know if they deep or just worn. The stem had a blackened airway from the tobacco juices and it had some shallow tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem was screwed onto the shank with the Jobey Link system which was in excellent condition. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he did any clean up.    He took photos of the rim top and the stem. The photo of the rim top shows the incredibly thick cake in the bowl and the heavy coat of lava on the filling in the crevices and valleys of the heavily rusticated rim top. The stem photos show the oils and tars in the airway of the bright yellow stem and some tooth chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a sense of the rustication on the pipe and the sheer filthy condition of the finish. There is still something attractive about the rusticated finish on the bowl. I took photos of the stamping on the right and left side of the shank. The stamping is clear and reads as noted above. You can also see the top of the stem where the brass Jobey logo is missing. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the Jobey Link system tenon. The threads screw into the threaded shank and the smooth portion is supposed to fit snugly in the stem.I reread several of the blogs I have written on the brand in the past restorations of Jobey pipes and decided to include the material on the brand before I write about the cleanup of the pipe. Here is the link to the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/03/restoring-jennifers-dads-jobey-asti-245-pot/). I quote:

I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick review of the brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j3.html). I quote a section of the post on the Jobey brand: These pipes are made in St Claude (France) by Butz-Choquin (Berrod-Regad group) since 1987. Before this date some were manufactured in England and Denmark (Jobey Dansk).

I turned then to Pipedia to gather further information regarding the brand and quote the first part of the article (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jobey).

English – American – Danish – French… Sadly, solid information about Jobey is scant…

Probably established in England around 1920(?) the brand hiked into the USA later. In the course of time owner, distributor and manufacturer changed repeatedly. As far as is known the following companies have been involved with the brand:

George Yale Pipes & Tobacco, New York (1942)

Norwalk Pipe Co., New York (1949)

Arlington Briar Pipes Corp., Brooklyn (when?)

Hollco International, New York (1969).

Weber Pipe Co., Jersey City, NJ (1970’s)

The Tinder Box, (1970’s – 80’s).

Throughout decades Jobey pipes were mainly sold in the USA, Canada and England but remained almost unknown in continental Europe. The bulk of Jobeys was predominantly made according to classical patterns and mainly in the lower to middle price range. The predominant judgment of the pipe smokers reads: “A well-made pipe for the price.” So there is hardly anything very special or exciting about Jobey pipes although a flyer from ca. 1970 assures: “The briar root Jobey insists upon for its peer of pipes is left untouched to grow, harden and sweeten for 100 years. […] Jobey uses only the heart of this century old briar and only one out of 500 bowls turned measures up to the rigid Jobey specifications.” 99.80% of cull… that makes the layman marveling!

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I decided to start with the stem. I sorted through some of the pipes remaining for me to work on and I had this broken Jobey stem. I used a small pen knife to lift the brass logo out of the damaged stem to use on the yellow one. I put some white all purpose glue in the indentation on the stem top and used a small dental probe to press the brass logo into the spot it was missing. I wiped off the excess glue and pressed the edges down with the probe and I was happy with the look and fit of the “new” brass logo. The Jobey link was stuck fast in the stem and I had a hard time removing it. I used a small screw driver as a wedge and lifted it out of the stem. Once I had it out I would need to sanded the smooth side to loosen the fit while yet leaving it snug.With the tenon removed from the stem I was able to clean out a lot more of the tars and oils in the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I also used a small round needle file to file the inside of the airway and remove more of the staining. Once I finished it looked much better. I used a wood rasp to smooth out the surface of the tenon end that fit in the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the scratches in the Delrin. I wanted the fit to be snug but not tight. I worked well.I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter and blend them into the surface of the acrylic. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I turned back to the bowl. I rubbed the it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the rustication on the bowl and with a horsehair shoe brush to get into the nooks and crannies of the finish. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the Jobey Stromboli 440 Square Shank Billiard back together and buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the dark rusticated finish. The swirled fancy yellow acrylic stem stands in contrast to the dark colours of the bowl. It is a light weight pipe that could be clenched and smoked while doing other things. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 37 grams/1.31 oz. This one will soon be on the American Pipemakers page on the rebornpipes online store. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Restemming a Stanwell Design Choice 892 Ukelele with a proper stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is one that was purchased in 2020 from an auction in Bloomingdale, New York, USA. It has been here for a while and I am just now getting to it. Work has been demanding so it is slowing down my restoration work a bit. This flat bowled volcano shaped pipe obviously has a a poorly fit replacement stem that has made it into an odd shaped churchwarden. I don’t think that it looked like this when it came out but I had no idea what it would have looked like before. It has a really mix of grains around the bowl and shank. It was stamped on the underside of the shank and it reads Stanwell [over] Design [over] Choice [over] Made in Denmark. To the left of this it is stamped with the shape numbers 892. The pipe was dirty with grime ground into the finish. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim was covered in lava it was hard to know what was underneath. The vulcanite shank extension was oxidized and worn. The churchwarden stem is overly bent and the fit in the shank extension is not quite right – just a few of several reasons that I knew it was a replacement stem. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started to work on cleaning it up for us. Jeff took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The oxidized and replacement churchwarden vulcanite stem was over bent and would need to be straightened or replaced with a more original stem. This one has chatter and deep tooth marks on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides of the bowl and the heel to give an idea of the shape and the condition of the briar around the bowl. It really is a nicely shaped pipe with some great grain. There are some flaws in briar on the bottom of the bowl. The next photo Jeff took shows the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I Googled the Stanwell shape 892 Design Choice pipe to see if I could find photos of what the pipe looked like when it was made and to see if I could see if there was information on who had made the pipe originally. I found a link to the shape on smokingpipes.com to the shape number (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/denmark/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=238398). I have included the description from the site below as well as a photo of one of the pipes.

A shape designed for Stanwell by Sixten Ivarsson, this is a take on the Ukelele, with plenty of plump curvature and low-slung charm on display. This example is still in good condition overall, though it has picked up some light scratches around the bowl, and the chamber is slightly out of round.Now I knew that I was dealing with a shape designed by Sixten Ivarrson called a Ukelele that had a short fancy saddle stem and there was no reference anywhere I looked for a churchwarden stemmed Ukelele. I would need to fashion a new stem for the pipe to give the pipe a similar look to the one above.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his normal cleaning process. In short, he reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the smooth bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the lava and debris on the rim top and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He soaked it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. It really looked good but I was more convinced than ever that a new stem was needed. I decided that I would work on this stem while I was looking for a new stem.I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addresses with both. The rim top and bowl look good. The edge was clean but there was some damage on the rim top at the front of the bowl. The Churchwarden stem looked better and the tooth marks and chatter were still present. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see from the photo that it is readable.I removed the stem from the bowl and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beauty of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the flaws in the bottom of the bowl. Under a lens there were small sand pits along the line of the CA glue that I filled them with in the photo below. Once the repair cured I sanded it smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar. I polished the smooth briar and the vulcanite shank extension with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-4000 grit pads to smooth out the surface of the briar and the repair on the bottom of the bowl. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. The briar began to take on a shine. I paused after polishing the bowl with the 4000 grit micromesh pad to stain the repair on the bottom of the bowl. I used a Maple stain pen to match the surrounding briar. Once the stain cured I finished polishing the bowl with 6000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. The bowl really did begin to shine. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm working it into the briar with my finger tips. The product works to clean, revive and protect the briar. I let it sit on the pipe for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to deal with the stem even though I would replace it on the finished pipe. I straightened the churchwarden stem with a heat gun to get the angle more in keeping with the angles of the shank. I sanded out the tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil each pad to remove the dust and polishing debris. I polished it with Before After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. Now that the churchwarden stem was finished I turned my attention to a shorter stem that I shaped to match the one in the photo from smokingpipes.com. I used a stem blank that I shaped with a Dremel and sanding drum. I shaped the saddle above the tenon to flow into the blade of the stem. I also shaped the tenon area to also have the same slope. I wanted  the slope on both sides to match. I used 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the angles. I took photos of the newly shaped stem in place in the bowl. I like the looks of the pipe with the new stem. I heated the vulcanite with the flame of a lighter to soften the stem and give it a slight bend. The bend fit the angles of the shank and allowed it to sit on the desktop.I put the stem on the pipe and took photos of the pipe with its new stem. I looked very good and the angles were perfect. I liked the way the pipe looked at this point.I polished the new stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil each pad to remove the dust and polishing debris. I polished it with Before After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This is another pipe that I am really happy about the finished restoration. This reborn Stanwell Ivarrson Designed Ukelele turned out really well. I used a blank to shape and craft a new stem for it as the churchwarden stem just did not work well. After restemming I think that it really is a great looking pipe with a great shape and grain. The bowl is flattened volcano shape and the vulcanite shank extension goes well with it. The new vulcanite saddle stem is very close to the original stem that would have come with the pipe when it was new. The polished black of the stem works well with the briar. The briar really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown stains of the finish make the grain really pop with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Stanwell Design Choice Ukelele really has a unique beauty and feels great in the hand. It looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 55 grams/1.98 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on Danish Pipe Makers if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!

Restemming & Restoring a Peterson’s Product – a Made in Ireland  Shamrock X105 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen to work on came to me as a referral from a local pipe shop here in Vancouver. While I am not taking on work via mail I am still doing the repairs for this pipe shop. This one was a smooth finished Peterson’s Billiard bowl. It needed to have a stem fit to the shank so the fellow could smoke it again. It had not had a stem since the 70s. He decided it was time to get it back in order. He says he is a bit older than me and in our conversation it turns out that we are pretty close to the same age. He does not drive, no computer and no cell phone. We chatted a bit on his land line and decided a regular slotted stem would work for the pipe as I did not have any straight (or bent for that matter) Peterson’s stems. It had originally been offered with a choice of stems anyway. The finish is was dirty. I can see sand pits on the left side of the bowl but other than that it was in decent condition. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank and reads “A PETERSON’S [over] PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (3 lines) with the shape number X105 next to the bowl. The bowl had been reamed recently and the inner edge was nicked in several spots. The rim top was covered with a lava coat. I took a few photos of the pipe when I removed it from the shipping envelope.    I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl looks to have been reamed recently but the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. I took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information. 

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND9c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date. 

Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads “A Peterson’s Product” over Made in Ireland which narrows the date to between approximately 1945-1965. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name and no stem.  

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I went through my can of stems and found a fishtail stem that would work with a little adjustment to the diameter at the band. The stem was in very good condition. I laid aside the stem and turned my attention to the bowl. I worked on the thickly lava coated rim top and edges with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the lava and I worked over the inner edge with the sandpaper. Once finished I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife to remove the remnants of cake in the bowl. I scrubbed the externals of the bowl and rim with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I rinsed the bowl with warm running water to remove the soap and the grime. The scrubbing left the surface very clean. I decided to leave the sandpits on the bowl side and filling them seemed unnecessary to me. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I sanded the diameter of the stem at the shank end with 220 grit sandpaper to take down the left side so that it matched the side of the band on the shank. I worked it over until the flow between the nickel band and the stem was smooth. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I set the bowl aside and polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.    I am excited to finish this Nickel Banded Older Peterson’s Shamrock X105 Straight Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock X105 Billiard is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 46 grams/1.62 oz. It turned out to be a beautiful pipe. I will be packing it up on the weekend and getting it ready to go back to the pipeman who sent it to me to be restemmed. Thanks for your time and as Paresh says each time – Stay Safe.

Bringing Back To Life an “Orlik De Luxe # LD 33”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Re-Cap…
While surfing eBay for estate pipe lots, I came across a job lot that contained four estate pipes. The seller had not included any description for the item other than a simple statement that read “The lot is being sold as is. Pictures are part of description” or words to that effect. The worst part was that there were only two pictures that were posted by the seller!! Here are the pictures. I could make out one Orlik with dental stem, a Hardcastle Bulldog, one Comoy’s Lovat, and the last one was unidentifiable but appeared to be fitted with a horn stem. The pipes appeared to be in a decent condition and included some nice brand names. Soon the pipes reached Abha at my home town.

I have restored two pipes from this lot; the first one was the pipe with the horn stem and it turned out to be a gem from an old and reputable maker “Salmon (Barnett) & Gluckstein” from the period 1894 (guesstimated) and the other pipe I refurbished was the Hardcastle “DRAWEL”. Here are the links to both the write ups that were posted on rebornpipes.

Refurbishing an 1894 (?) Hallmarked “S & G” Square Shank Bent Billiard With a Horn Stem | rebornpipes

Refurbishing A Hardcastle’s “Drawal” # 27 | rebornpipes

Returning To The Present…
The 3rd pipe that I selected to work on from this lot is the Orlik Deluxe and is indicated with yellow arrow.The pipe is a classic straight Apple with a saddle vulcanite dental stem and a push-fit tenon. It is a medium sized pipe that oozes good quality and one that is light weight. The pipe has some fantastic mix of flame grains and bird’s eye to boast around the stummel surface and is without a single fill. The briar used to carve this pipe is of decent quality and the construction and finish of the stummel and mouthpiece feels top notch too. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “ORLIK DE LUXE” in a straight line in capital letters over “LONDON MADE” also in capital letters. The right shank panel bears the shape code # LD 33 in the centre. The high quality saddle stem bears the trademark logo “O” atop the saddle as a brass inlay. The stampings are crisp and easily readable and shown below. I had repaired the broken meerschaum lining (my first) on an Orlik, Meerschaum lined bent billiards and had read about the marquee. I remembered the brand to be British that was taken over by Cadogan group in the 1980s. To refresh my memory, I visited pipedia.org. I have reproduced the snippets of relevant information for easy referencing of the esteemed readers.

Orlik – Pipedia

In 1899, a pipe manufacturer was founded in London, Bond Street, by Louis Orlik. L. Orlik Ltd. started to produce high quality pipes for a relatively low price but high service and soon became quite popular. By 1907 they used the name L & A Orlik, which apparently added Louis’s brother, Alfred to the company name. In the first quarter of 1900 they also established in Birmingham. This can be verified by silver hallmarks. In 1980 the company was acquired by Cadogan. Like many of London’s other pipe manufacturers they moved to a new built factory in Southend-on-Sea. As all current brands in the Cadogan group, Orlik was being produced in those factories.

Orlik used the slogan “Smoked by all shrewd judges” “(who are also loved by his hard judge)” with a portrait of a judge wearing a wig. The picture is still used in Denmark for manufacturing of Orlik cigarettes.

An onsite link leads to a detailed and well researched article on Dating Orlik pipes by Michael Lankton and excerpts from the article Talk:Orlik – Pipedia. Give it a read for the details.

  • De Luxe(L)(LX) – molded stems inferior blocks brown finish, lesser grain, some have hand cut stems and some have molded stems, could perhaps depend on date of manufacture with earlier pipes having hand cut stems

The Orlik series proper will be stamped in all caps in a sans serif font on the port side of the shank one of two ways

ORLIK SERIES_NAME
MADE IN ENGLAND

or

ORLIK SERIES_NAME
LONDON MADE

The starboard side of the shank is stamped simply with the series letter and shape number, except on pipes stamped London Made on the port side, in which case in addition to the series letter and shape number Made in England is stamped in a straight line.

Orlik Pipes Shapes Catalog courtesy Yuriy Novikov (link provided below), is a neat catalog that describes the shape 33 as “MEDIUM APPLE”

Orlik_Pipe_Shapes.pdf (pipedia.org)

Thus from the above information and observing the pipe in my hand, it can be safely concluded that this Orlik De luxe # LD 33 is a lower placed series pipe with a molded stem. It is from the pre Cadogan period, that is 1950s to 1970s and that makes it a fairly collectible piece. It is my educated guess that the “D” in LD stands for Dental stem that is seen on this pipe.

Personally speaking, I am in complete agreement with Mr. Michael Lankton when he says that the early Orlik pipes were similar in quality to Dunhill, Loewe, Barling and Comoy’s based on the quality of the pipe that is currently on my work table. Even though this pipe is from the De Luxe series of Orlik, it is anything but of lesser quality!! The briar has some great straight grains on the sides of the stummel and is sans any fills. The pipe feels solid in the hand and the craftsmanship is perfect.

Armed with the information about the provenance of the pipe on my worktable, it was time for me to start the refurbishing of this pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has the classic straight Apple shape with a medium sized bowl. The stummel boasts of some beautiful flame grains on the left side and swirls on the right. The shank is adorned with beautiful straight grains traversing from the shank end towards the bowl. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava, hiding the fantastic grain patterns over the stummel surface. There is not a single fill in the briar which speaks of high quality selection of the briar. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber. The saddle vulcanite dental stem is oxidized with tooth chatter and calcium depositions on either surface in the bite zone. The stem does not seat flush with the shank face. The set of pictures below show the condition of the pipe when it had reached us. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The chamber has an even layer of thick hard cake. The smooth rim top surface is covered in lava overflow, dirt and grime from previous usage. The outer rim edge has suffered a few blows on a hard surface resulting in a few chipped edged surfaces in 12 o’clock direction (encircled in green). The inner edge appears to be charred in 11 o’clock direction with a chipped surface in 5 o’ clock direction (both encircled in pastel blue). The inner rim also shows a few dings and dents (indicated with red arrows), the cumulative effect of which is an out of round appearance to the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The chamber exudes a very strong odor of old tobacco. The draught hole is dead center at the bottom of the chamber and that makes me believe that it should be a great smoke and the thick cake in the chamber lends credence to this observation. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of a burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. Topping the rim surface should address the dents and dings over the rim edges to a great extent, while the remaining damage will be addressed by creating a slight bevel over the rim edge. The reaming and subsequent cleaning of the chamber and mortise should reduce the ghost smells from the chamber. The smooth stummel surface is covered in lava overflow that has attracted a lot of dust and dirt. The dark brown hued briar has taken on a layer of aged patina through which one can make out the beautiful flame and swirl grains that adorn most of the stummel surface and the shank. There are a few very minute dents and dings over the bowl surface probably due to falls and or rough, uncared for handling of the pipe. The briar looks lifeless and bone dry and has taken on dull dark hues. The mortise shows a heavy accumulation of oils, tars and gunk due to which the air flow is not full and smooth. Thorough cleaning of the stummel surface and rinsing it under warm water should highlight the grain patterns. This cleaning will further reveal any other damage to the stummel surface. The dents and dings to the stummel will be addressed to an extent once it is sanded and polished using micromesh pads. The seating of the stem tenon into the mortise is not flush. The most probable reason for this could be the accumulated gunk in the mortise. Thorough cleaning of the mortise should address this issue.The vulcanite saddle dental stem is relatively less oxidized. The bite zone has filing marks on either surface, but more pronounced on the upper extended button. The tenon is smeared in oils and tars and grime and so is the horizontal slot. The molded saddle dental stem bears the trademark inlaid brass logo “O” on the top face of the saddle and would need to be polished. Overall, the stem is in a decent condition and the vulcanite should take on a nice shine readily.The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by first cleaning the stem. I cleaned the internals of the stem with bristled pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. With my fabricated knife, I gently scraped out the dried gunk from the tenon end and the horizontal slot.  I further cleaned out the stem internals with a shank brush and dish washing liquid soap. Once the stem internals were cleaned, I sanded the entire stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper in preparation for dunking the stem into the Before and After Deoxidizer solution.I thereafter, dropped the stem into “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making it’s further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. I usually dunk stems of the pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is indicated with a blue arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak overnight for the solution to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I reamed the chamber with size 2 head of the Castleford reamer. With my fabricated knife, I further scraped the chamber walls to remove the remaining carbon deposits and also scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smoothen out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are in pristine condition with no signs of heat lines/ fissures. The inner rim edge resembles a visual nightmare after the cleaning. The inner edge has suffered extensive damage in 11 o’clock direction, the result of hitting against a hard surface to remove dottle (encircled in yellow). Similar damage is seen over the outer rim edge too and is encircled in blue. This damage to the outer rim edge as well as the inner edge will be addressed to an extent by topping the rim top. The rim top surface itself is peppered with dents/ dings and deep scratches (encircled in green) which will be smoothened by topping. The ghost smells are still very strong and may further reduce after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned.This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and a shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The mortise was a bear to clean and the cleaning will continue when I clean the external surface of the stummel. The old smells of the tobacco are still strong and would need more invasive methods to get rid of these odors.With the bowl internals clean, I moved to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Briar Cleaner, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover, to scrub the stummel and the rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the product to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with  detergent and a hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I diligently cleaned the grooves between the bowl rings that separated the bowl cap from rest of the stummel surface. The stummel surface, including the rim top has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. This cleaning also helped in gauging the extent of topping that would be required to address the damage to the rim edges and rim top surface. I shall subject the chamber to cotton and alcohol treatment to eliminate the ghost smells completely as the smell is still very strong. I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I used cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By the next morning, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The next morning, after I had cleaned the chamber and shank, I removed the stem that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Magic Eraser pad followed by Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. The stem is in pristine condition. The filing marks appear more like denture marks and not file marks per se. These should be easily eliminated when I sand the stem with sand papers and polish with micromesh pads. I sanded the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper till the complete oxidation was eliminated from the stem and saddle portion in particular. I sanded out the scratches in the bite zone using the same grit sand paper. I rubbed a small quantity of EVO into the stem surface to hydrate it. To bring a deep shine to the stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below.I turned my attention to address the damage to the stummel. I next decided to smooth the rim top surface dents/ dings and the charred surface in 11 o’clock direction to the inner rim edge. I topped the rim top surface on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently for the progress being made as I hate to loose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. The darkened inner rim edge can still be seen, though much greatly reduced. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I cleaned the inner edge of the rim top surface to minimize the darkening. This helps to mask and address the minor dents and dings that had remained on the rim edges after topping. I am careful so as not to alter the profile of the stummel by excessive topping or creation of the bevels. I am pretty pleased with the appearance of the rim top and edges at this stage. The following pictures show the progress being made and improvements to the inner and outer rim edges. I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. The minor outer rim damage was repaired to a very large extent and so was the darkening during this process. I really like the look of the stummel at this point in the restoration. The grains and the clean classic lines of this pipe are worthy of appreciation. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works it’s magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the Angle hair and swirl grains with the natural patina of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful in person and is ready to provide years of smoking pleasures to the piper who desires this beauty. If this pipe calls out your name, please feel free to contact me at deshpandeparesh@yahoo.co.in

Big thank you to all the readers who have joined me on this path by reading this write up as I restored and completed this project.

What an interesting Sandblast Butz-Choquin 2nd Generation A Metz Origine


Blog by Steve Laug

So when this Butz-Choquin A Metz Origine sandblast showed up in an auction Jeff was watching we went for it and picked it up. It was purchased late in 2020 from an online auction in Bloomingdale, New York, USA. I have worked on the older Origine and also one of these newer ones. While the 1858 Origine had an albatross wing bone for the shank extension the new one had a shorter acrylic look alike. The other one I had worked on was a smooth finished pipe while this one is sandblasted. The shape of the bowl is the same but the 1858 version’s horn stem was replaced by an acrylic stem that was nowhere near as elegant as the first. The pipe was in overall good condition. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Butz-Choquin at an angle over A Metz over Origine. On the right side of the shank it is stamped St. Claude France over the number 2. The sandblast  finish was dull and lifeless and a little dirty from sitting around. There was a thin cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top toward the back. There also appears to be some burn/charring damage on the inner edge in the same area. The acrylic shank extension had come loose from the metal end cap that fit in the shank. The silver (polished nickel) that caps the shank and the faux “bone” extension was tarnished but in good condition. The stem was amazingly clean with just some tooth chatter on both sides near the stem. Jeff took the previous and the following photos before he started his cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. You can see the darkening around the inner edge of the rim and the top at the back of the bowl. The next photos of the stem show the general condition of the stem and angle of the stem. It is very similar to the shape of the original 1858 horn stem. The next photos show the metal end caps on the shank extension. The end that fits in the end of the shank is stuck in the shank and the acrylic extension was loose. The other end is fitted with the stem that was not able to be removed.He took photos of the sides and heel of the sandblast bowl to show condition of the briar. You can see the swirls of grain in the blast on the sides of the bowl.The stamping is very clear on both sides of the pipe. The next two photos confirm what I wrote about the stamping above.I had written a previous blog on a restoration of a second generation Butz-Choquini A Metz Origine (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/13/new-life-for-a-second-generation-butz-choquin-a-metz-origine/). It was a smooth briar pipe but the information that I included was helpful and applicable. I am including some of that below.

I turned to Pipephil (www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-butzchoquin.html) to get a bit of background on the second or the modern version of the Origine pipe. I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section below.Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had great job in cleaning up this Origine. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage and also see the extent of the burn damage on the back of the inner edge of the rim. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove much of the grime and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. The rim top looked much better when you compare it with where it started. The damaged area is very clear now and the extent of the damage was clear. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took some photos of the pipe as I saw it. To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top is quite clean and the damage to the back rim top and inner edge of the bowl is clear. The tan/bone coloured acrylic stem looks very good. The surface and the button edge look really good. There are no issues that are there to address. The tarnished silver ends on the shank ends have a rich shine to it now as well.I removed the stem from the bowl and took photos of the parts. The shank extension came apart at the shank end but not at the stem. The metal end on the acrylic shank extension came loose from the extension and was stuck in the shank. The stem was glued to the shank end and unmovable. The pipe looks pretty amazing – kind of a shorter version of the 1858 Origine.I decided to address the shank endcap that was stuck in the shank. I heated it with a Bic lighter and wiggled the end cap. I repeated the process until it finally came loose. Once it was loose I cleaned the inside of the cap and shank extension end so that I could reglue it.I coated the end of the shank extension with all purpose white glue using a dental spatula. I spread it around with my fingers and pressed the cap on the shank extension. I wiped off the excess of the glue and let it cure and harden. I took photos of the repaired shank extension and have included them below. I cleaned out the shank end with alcohol and cotton swabs to remove the tars and oils that had hardened in the metal end cap locking in the shank cap. I sanded the shank cap with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the external diameter of the cap. I needed to reduce it so that it fit in the shank end but did not lock it in place.I checked the fit in the shank and it was smooth and snug. I polished the shank cap with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. At the same time I also polished the acrylic stem to remove the tooth chatter and marks with the micromesh pads. I set the stem and shank extension aside and turned my attention to the damage rim top. I used a set of burrs to replicate the blast pattern on the burn damaged part of the bowl. It took all three burrs to replicate the pattern. Once it was finished I stained the top of the bowl with a Mahogany Stain Pen to match the rest of the bowl.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar of the bowl with my finger tips and a horse hair shoe brush to work it into the grooves of the sandblast. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood.I am really happy with the way that this Butz-Choquin A. Metz Origine 2 turned out. It really is a great looking pipe with character. The long acrylic shank extension is a unique feature of this pipe and I was able to repair the loose end cap. The blast really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown and mahogany stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Butz-Choquin A Metz Origine really is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 8 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45 grams/1.59 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on French Pipe Makers if you would like to add it to your collection.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!

I do not understand why Peterson coats some of their pipes with a thick varnish coat


Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday afternoon Dallas (a long time pipe friend) stopped by to pick up a pipe I had repaired for him and to sit on the front porch and enjoy a bowl and some fellowship with each other. Due to COVID-19 we have only had virtual visits for over a year now so it was really good to see him and posit our solutions to the world’s problems. We covered a lot of topics that come naturally to men of a certain age! In the course of our discussion he brought out a very shiny Peterson’s Kinsale XL25 Made in the Republic of Ireland. The pipe was very glossy and it was one that he had in his collection for a long time. It should have been showing wear on the finish but this “plastic” coated looking finish was impervious to time and use it appeared. There was a slight bit of peeling on the rim top but other than that it looked like new. He handed it to me and told me his woes with this pipe. He said that the pipe became extremely hot when he smoked it. He had tried everything to change that but nothing mattered. Dallas has been smoking  a pipe for almost 60 years now so it is not a technique issue. I am certain it  is the fault of the thick “plastic” looking finish on the pipe. I have stripped other Peterson’s that had the same issue for him and the work always improves the dispersal of the heat. He wanted me to do the same with this pipe. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the peeling varnish on the rim top. The edges look very good and other than the bubbles in the varnish coat the top looks good. The stem is also shown to show the light oxidation of time on the vulcanite and the tooth marks and chatter that come from use.I took photos of the stamping on the shank to show the brand and the age of the pipe. It reads Peterson’s Kinsale on the top of the shank and Made in the Republic of Ireland on the underside. On the right side of the shank was the shape number XL25. The varnish had filled in the numbers showing that it had been varnished after stamping.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the left side of the bowl to try to capture the shape and the grain. It really is a beauty.I like working on clean pipes so I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer to take the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. Once finished the bowl was clean and smooth. Now it was time to tackle the obnoxious varnish coat. I tried to remove it with straight acetone and came up with nothing. The seal on the finish was solid and seemingly impervious to my work at this point. I lightly sanded the finish on the bowl with a folded piece of 220 sandpaper to break through the surface. Once I had done that the acetone worked well to remove the finish from the briar. I repeated the process until the shiny coat was gone and I could feel the briar in my hand and see the grain without the top coat over it. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad. The grain began to really come alive through the polishing. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood. There is a rich shine in the briar but it is not that previous plastic-like shine. I cleaned the shank, mortise and airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to remove the tars. Dallas had mentioned the stem was very tight but once I cleaned it the fit was just the way it should have been.I started polishing the stem with 1500-2400 micromesh sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I paused my polishing to touch up the P stamp on the top of the saddle with some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a soft towel. I went back to the micromesh and polished the stem with 3200-12000 grit pads, again wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish, both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil before putting it back on the shank. Once the varnish was stripped off this is a nice looking Peterson’s Kinsale XL25 Pipe with an oval shank and a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar is clean and the grain really came alive. The rich brown and black stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Peterson’s Kinsale XL25 really is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. I think that Dallas will be very happy with it once he picks it up. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 65 grams/2.29 oz. The pipe looks very good and I look forward to what Dallas thinks of it. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!

This Beat up Yves St. Claude Interlude 96 Pocket Pipe Needs an Interlude


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a fellow in Brazil, Indiana, USA earlier this year. It is a small pocket pipe with flat sides and an oval shank. There is some nice grain on the bowl and there is carved pattern on the back side of the bowl. The rim top is pretty beat up and has some ground in grime and lava build up. The inner edge of the rim is in rough shape and there is damage and burn marks on the outer edge as well. The finish on the bowl is very worn and dirty but there is still something intriguing about the pipe even with the grime on the surface of the briar. There is a large shrunken fill on the left side of the heel of the bowl. This pipe is stamped on the topside of the shank and reads Yves St. Claude [over] Interlude. On the underside of shank it has the shape number 96 followed by the Made in France circular COM stamp. There was a stylized YSC stamped on the top of the oval saddle stem. The pipe is heavily smoked with a moderate cake in the bowl that has been poorly reamed. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. The pipe is in a condition that is a challenge to bring back to life. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the top and edges of the bowl. It is a heavily smoked and well worn older pipe that must have been someone’s favourite. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the interesting grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. He also captured the carving on the back of the bowl. It is a unique looking pipe. He took a photo of the shrunken fill on the left side of the heel of the bowl. It was a large fill that had chipped and left a pit.He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took photos of the YSC stamp on the left side and Hand Cut on the right side of the taper stem.   I turned first to a blog I had written on the restoration of previous YSC pipe that I received (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/23/next-on-the-table-an-yves-st-claude-marbre-75-bulldog/).

In the previous blog that I cited above I had found several references to Yves Grenard, trained in Comoy’s England factory, purchasing the Chacom plant in St. Claude. He managed the factory and it passed on to his son afterward. The shape of this Yves St. Claude pipe makes me believe that it may have been made by Chacom in France with the stamping bearing Yves name.

I turned back to Pipephil’s site to have a look at what was listed there and did a screen capture of the section (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html).I turned to Pipedia and in the listing of French Brands and Maker I found a connection of the brand to Chapuis-Comoy and that the YSC brand was made primarily for Tinder Box (https://pipedia.org/wiki/French_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_U_-_Z). I followed that up by turning to the Chapuis-Comoy article from Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chapuis-Comoy).

French factory, in St. Claude. It began with Francois Comoy who, in 1825, was making pipes in boxwood and other types, as well as in clay, for the armies of Napoleon. In 1856, the Comoy factory was the first to produce briar bowls at St. Claude. In 1870, Francois’s grandson, Henri Comoy (1850-1924) was taken prisoner in Switzerland whilst serving in the French army during the Franco-Prussian war, where he found his cousins, the Chapuis. This meeting produced the idea of an association, which only became a reality in 1922, with the creation of Chapuis-Comoy. After Henri’s death, his sons Paul and Adrien, took over the company with the support of their cousins, Emile and Louis Chapuis Sr., and in 1928 they created the Chacom brand.

In 1932, due to the economic crisis at Saint-Claude, the factory merged with La Bruyère, adopting that name, and becoming one of the biggest pipe companies in the world, with 450 workers. Louis Chapuis Jr., joined the company in 1938 and Pierre Comoy in 1947. The name Chapuis-Comoy returned in 1957 (125 workers), due to the success of the Chacom brand in France. In 1971, the London factory (see Comoy’s) became independent, and Yves Grenard, second cousin to Pierre, took over Saint-Claude, and is still running it. Between 1987 and 2001, the factory, which employed over 40 people, joined the Cuty-Fort Enterprises SA holding and, in 1994, included the Ropp brand it its catalog.

Reminded about the Chacom connection for the YSC brand it was now time to turn to the pipe itself and do my part of the work. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. Other than the damaged rim top and edges the pipe looked good. Strangely, I did not notice I had put the stem on upside down until I looked through these pictures. I have the YSC stamp on the underside of the stem rather than the top! Oops. I will fix that.I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition (though it is a little blurry it is clear enough to see the damage). The edges of the bowl are in rough condition. The oval vulcanite saddle stem had tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the edges. The stamping on the sides of the shank is faint but readable as noted above.       I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is unique looking pipe that is carved with a notch for the thumb of either hand when it is wrapped around the bowl. I started working on the pipe by topping the damaged rim top on a topping board with 180 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wanted to minimize the damage to the rim top and the inner and outer edges as much as possible. I used a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge and give it a slight bevel. I repaired the flaw on the left side of the heel of the bowl with briar dust and super glue. Once it dried I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar.  I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads, wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with an alcohol dampened pad after each sanding pad. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.   I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I touched up the YSC stamp on the top of the saddle stem with Antique Gold Rub’n Buff working it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. This nice smooth finished Yves St. Claude Interlude 96 Pocket Pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe. The rich medium brown finish and the black stem work really well together. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich medium brown stain gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished YSC Interlude Pocket Pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches wide x 1 ½ inches long, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36 grams/1.27 ounces. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. I will be adding to the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

What a Mess! A Peterson’s Product Shamrock 15 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was an absolute mess and one that obviously had been “ridden hard and put away wet”. There was little room in the bowl for tobacco and the finish and condition was abysmal. I am pretty sure it came from a classic old time pipeman who smoked a pipe until it was no longer usable and then pitched it for a new on. It was definitely a stranger to any cleaning! This one is a smooth Billiard that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us on 07/24/18 from a sale in Lickingville, Pennsylvania, USA. The finish is almost bland looking it is so dirty it was hard to know what to expect once it was cleaned. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank and reads “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN THE REP. [over] OF IRELAND (3 lines) with the shape number 15 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a very thick cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The cake was thick and overflowing so much it was hard to know what the edge looked like. The stem was stamped with the letter S on the left side. It was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is so heavily caked it is impossible to know the condition of the edges under the lava overflow. There was still dottle in the bowl from the last smoke of the pipe. The stem is oxidized and grimy. It has some tooth marks on the top and underside near and on the surface of the button itself. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. You can see the sandpits and nicks in the briar in the photos below. Even so, it is a nice looking pipe.He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).
I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND (c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads “A Peterson’s Product” over Made in Ireland which narrows the date to between approximately 1948-1998. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name as an inexpensive a fish tail stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I was utterly surprised when I took this pipe out of the box and compared it to the before photos. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. Surprisingly the walls looked unscathed from the heavy cake. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. The cleaned up rim top revealed a very damaged inner edge and top. It was both burned and nicked from what appeared to be a quick ream somewhere in its life with a knife. I took some close up photos of the rim top to show how well it had cleaned up and the damage to the inner edges around the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near and on the button itself. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I started my work on this pipe by topping the bowl and reworking the damage to the inner edge. I topped the bowl on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. Once I had it smooth I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to accommodate the burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.I interrupted the polishing with the micromesh pads after the 2400 grit pad. I stained the rim top with a Maple, Cherry and Walnut stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar. Then I continued on my polishing of the briar with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and “painted” the stem surface with flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks in the surface. It worked well. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with clear CA glue and set the stem aside to cure. Once it had cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.From the description I read and quoted above I knew that the stem stamp could well have been gold. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to fill in the stamp. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Older “A Peterson’s Product” Shamrock 15 Straight Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful mixed grain all around it. Added to that the black vulcanite fish tail stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock 15 Billiard is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34grams/1.20oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one will end up on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe makers section. Check there if you want to add it to your collection. Let me know via email or message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Beauty or the Beast?


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

This is the story of a pipe – possibly damaged beyond reasonable limits – which I really liked and decided (against my better judgement) to revivify. I need to make clear from the outset that this is not a pipe like many you see from Steve, Dal, Paresh, Charles, et al, which begin their restoration as the proverbial sow’s ear and naturally end up as the silk purse. No, this is a pipe that came to me as a damaged ‘beast’ and ended up much improved – but a ‘beast’ it remains. There is damage to the pipe which is, despite my best efforts, a permanent attribute. I leave it to your collective judgement on whether it will ever attain the rank of ‘beauty’.

This pipe came from a lot from Sudbury, Ontario. There were literally no marks of any kind on the stummel, stem, or ferrule. In the absence of a name, Steve and I dubbed it ‘The Sudbury’ and that is the name that stuck. Steve thinks that the Sudbury could be of Italian origin, and I have no reason to question that assessment. So let us pretend that it is an Italian ‘scoop’ pipe that arrived from Northern Ontario. If you have any insight into the pipe’s origin, I would love to hear from you. The photos do not quite convey just how bad this pipe looked when it arrived. The stummel was filthy, scratched, dented, cracked, and burned. The bowl was out-of-round, had lots of lava, cake and burns. The stem was oxidized, calcified, and badly pitted (more about the pitting later). The ferrule was dirty, torn, dented, and cheap-looking – it had obviously been put there to address the cracks in the shank. Where to even begin with this mess?

Well, the start came with removing the sorry-looking ferrule, which, quite frankly, inspired more pathos than confidence. This allowed me to have a good look at the cracks (plural) in the shank. As you can plainly see, the cracks were a mess. I removed what I could of lose debris and glue from these fissures, with the intention of refilling them later.Next was reaming out the bowl. This pipe has quite a wide and curved bowl and it required both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem. I took it down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. This is a pipe that really could have used the services of a retort system, but – alas – I do not have one. If anyone has a spare, please let me know. The fellow on eBay who sells them is out of commission for a while. A quick wipe of the outside revealed that there is really some beautiful wood grain in this pipe.A de-ghosting session seemed in order to rid this pipe of the foul smells of the past. This de-ghosting consisted of thrusting cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturating them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged.While all of that was going on, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Then the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. I knew the stem was going to require a lot of work, but even I did not know what I was getting myself into. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing goop (technical term) off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove.Back to the stummel – and this required addressing two key issues: the badly out-of-round bowl opening and the cracks in the shank that needed to be re-mended. In order to address the out-of-round issue, I took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and sanded thoroughly – until such time as the bowl was returned to round. This process was not difficult, but it was time consuming. I had to ensure that I was sanding down the correct parts that needed it and that I was not removing too much. In the end, I think I got the balance just right.Meanwhile, I had to figure out what could be done with the very noticeable cracks in the shank. The previous ferrule had done a passable job of hiding them, but that ferrule was a non-starter. It was ugly and trashed. Anyway, an application of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive seemed to be the way to go in addressing the cracks. I also had to concede that, no matter what, the cracks were always going to be a visible part of this pipe from now on. There was just no way around it. I sanded down the repairs and left them for a bit later.There was a small burn on the underside of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed. The burn did improve but never fully disappeared. I took solace from the fact that the burn was very superficial and did not affect the integrity of the wood at all.After this, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain.Steve was kind enough to find me a new ferrule that we could bend to correctly fit the oval shank. This was not as easy as it sounds because the shank’s width tapered away from the end. I used a combination of heat, glue and elbow grease to fit it. I then used metal sandpaper to even out the edge. A quick polish with my cloth made it look pretty good.Now on too the stem. Oh boy – this was a struggle. All the usual things were fine. As I mentioned, the deoxidizing went well; the cleaning of the internals went well; the sanding of the stem with the Micromesh pads went well; the buffing and polishing went well; BUT the pitting was very difficult. In the first place, the pits were all filled with filth and/or oxidation and/or debris from the many years of neglect. In order to dislodge this, I soaked the pitted part of the stem overnight in a lemon-infused, isopropyl alcohol solution. This worked surprisingly well. The debris either dissolved or was easy to scrub out.Now, how to fill these properly so as to create a smooth and (hopefully) invisible repair? Steve assured me that he had successfully filled pits in the past with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Perfect – I set about carefully smearing the adhesive all over the pitting. I left it to set and came back later to sand it down. So far, so good, but some of the pits did not fill (no idea how that happened) and others just looked terrible after sanding. I obviously did something wrong. Steve suggested that we used some black cyanoacrylate adhesive. He very kindly did his own smearing of the black adhesive on my stem. We let it set, did all the right things, and it still looked lousy. I even tried using a black Sharpie to see if that would help – it didn’t. Suffice it to say that I went through this process a total of FOUR times before I had to admit defeat. I will say that the stem looks so much better than when I started, but those pits were *ahem* the pits.I applied more Before & After Restoration Balm, then some wax. I polished it by hand with a microfibre cloth and I was pleased with the results! This pipe was clearly a great beauty on the day it was made. Over the years, abuse, neglect, and the ravages of time turned this charming pipe into a beast. I worked harder on this pipe than I have on any other, but I am proud of it and I am adding it to my collection. I look forward to smoking it for many years to come.

The dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 164 mm; height 42 mm; bowl diameter 149 × 44 mm; chamber diameter 23 mm. The mass of the pipe is 46 grams. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Refurbishing A Hardcastle’s “Drawal” # 27


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

While surfing eBay for estate pipe lots, I came across a job lot that contained four estate pipes. The seller had not included any description for the item other than a simple statement that read “The lot is being sold as is. Pictures are part of description” or words to that effect. The worst part was that there were only two pictures that were posted by the seller!! Here are the pictures that were posted by the seller… I could make out one Orlik with dental stem, a Hardcastle’s Bulldog, one Comoy’s Lovat, and the last one was unidentifiable but appeared to be fitted with a horn stem. The pipes appeared to be in a decent condition and included some nice brand names. Soon the pipes reached Abha at my home town. I had restored the pipe with horn stem and it turned out to be a gem from an old and reputable maker “Salmon (Barnett) & Gluckstein” from the period 1894 (guesstimated). Here is the link to the write up that was posted on rebornpipes;

Refurbishing an 1894 (?) Hallmarked “S & G” Square Shank Bent Billiard With a Horn Stem | rebornpipes

The 2nd pipe that I selected to work on from this lot is the Hardcastle’s Bulldog and is indicated with indigo blue arrow.The pipe is a classic Bent Bulldog with a diamond shank and a saddle vulcanite stem with a push-fit tenon. It is a medium sized pipe with a nice hand feel and a nice heft to it. The pipe may not have fantastic flame grains to boast, but has a beautiful mix of bird’s eye and straight grains scattered around the stummel surface and is without a single fill. The briar piece used to carve this pipe is of top quality and the construction and finish of the stummel and mouthpiece feels top notch too. It is stamped on the left shank panel as underlined “HARDCASTLE’S” in an arch in capital letters over “BRITISH MADE” over “DRAWEL” in an opposite arch forming a rugby ball shaped stamping. The right shank panel bears the shape code # 27 in the centre. The high quality saddle stem bears the trademark logo “H” on the left face of the saddle. The stampings are crisp and easily readable and shown below.I had cleaned up a Hardcastle’s Royal Windsor, a quaint lightweight sandblasted straight billiards with ring grains all round even before I started posting my work on rebornpipes and had read about the marquee. I remembered the brand to be British that was taken over by Dunhill and eventually relegated to being a seconds brand to even Parker, also taken over by Dunhill. To refresh my memory and relive the painful demise of a classic quality pipe maker from Britain, I visited pipedia.org. I have reproduced the snippets of relevant information for easy referencing of the esteemed readers.

Hardcastle – Pipedia

Hardcastle was founded in 1908 by Edmund Hardcastle and built itself a good reputation among the numerous British mid-graders. In 1935 Dunhill started to build a factory next door to Hardcastle in Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17. The family owned Hardcastle Pipes Limited sold 49% of its equity to Dunhill In 1936.

Along with closing down its pipe factory in Notting Hill in 1946 Dunhill bought the remaining shares, turning Hardcastle into a 100% Dunhill subsidiary. As members of the Hardcastle family continued as executives in the company’s management Hardcastle retained a certain independence.

This ended in 1967. Dunhill merged Hardcastle with Parker (100% Dunhill as well). The new Parker Hardcastle Limited also absorbed the former Masta Patent Pipe Company. Hardcastle’s Forest Road plant was immediately given up and the production of Hardcastle pipes was shifted to Parker’s nearby St. Andrews Road factory – now consequently called Parker-Hardcastle factory.

In fact this put a definite end to Hardcastle as an own-standing pipe brand, and none other than Edwin Hardcastle, the last of the family executives, spoke frankly and loudly of Hardcastle pipes being degenerated to an inferior Dunhill second.

Today Hardcastle pipes use funneled down bowls that are not deemed suitable to bear the Dunhill or even the Parker name (as well as obtaining briar from other sources).

Timeline

  • 1903: Edmund Hardcastle establishes the brand
  • 1936: Family sells 49% of the Hardcastle Pipes Limited shares to Dunhill
  • 1946: Dunhill buys the remaining shares, but the family continues to manage the company
  • 1967: Dunhill merges Hardcastle with Parker. The new Parker-Hardcastle Limited company absorbs the Masta Patent Pipe Company also.
  • After 1967 it is speculated that Hardcastle became the brand for “Parker Seconds”

John Loring states in “The Dunhill Briar Pipe – ‘the patent years and after'” that in the absence of sales receipts, or other items of provenance, Hardcastles cannot be accurately dated. Loring further states that he knows of no way to distinguish the briar source when looking at Hardcastle, Parker, or Parker-Hardcastle pipes.

Models & Grades
Family Period
Straight Grain, Supergrain, Leweard, Nut Bruyere, De Luxe, Royal Windsor Sandhewn, Royal Crown, The Crown, Phito Dental, Old Bruyere, Jack O’London, Dental Briar, Phito, Dental, Dryconomy, Drawel, Phithu, Telebirar, Camden, Lightweight, The Table, Dovetail, Dental, Crescent Extra, Lonsdale, Welard De Luxe

Thus from the above, it is evident that the pipe on my work table is from the family era and made prior to 1967 when Hardcastle became the brand for “Parker Seconds”.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has the classic Bent Bulldog shape with a diamond shank and a medium sized bowl. The stummel boasts of some beautiful bird’s eye and cross grains all over the bowl and shank. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava. There is not a single fill in the briar which speaks of high quality selection of the briar. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber. The saddle vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized with tooth chatter and light tooth indentations on either surface in the bite zone. The stem does not seat flush with the shank face. The set of pictures below shows the condition of the pipe when it had reached us. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The chamber has an even layer of thick cake. The smooth rim top surface shows a couple of dents/ dings (indicated with blue arrows) and is covered in lava overflow, dirt and grime from previous usage. The outer rim edge has a charred spot in 10 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow) and has suffered a few blows on a hard surface resulting in a few chipped edge surfaces in 12 o’ clock direction (encircled in green). The inner edge appears to be in decent condition. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The chamber exudes a very strong odor of old tobacco. The draught hole is dead center at the bottom of the chamber and that makes me believe that it should be a great smoke and the thick cake in the chamber lends credence to this observation. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of a burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. To address the damage to outer rim edge, I shall create a slight bevel over the rim edge. Topping the rim surface should address the dents and dings over the rim top surface. The reaming and subsequent cleaning of the chamber and mortise should reduce the ghost smells from the chamber.The smooth stummel surface is covered in lava overflow that has attracted a lot of dust and dirt. The natural hued briar has taken on a layer of aged patina through which one can make out the beautiful cross grains that adorns most of the stummel surface and Bird’s eye grain at the foot and bottom of the shank. There are a few dents and chipped areas over the bowl cap (encircled in yellow), probably due to falls and or rough, uncared for handling of the pipe. Close observation of the stummel surface under magnification has revealed three very minute fills, two at the front of the bowl and one on the shank (indicated by red arrows) in the entire stummel. The double ring that separates the cap from the rest of the bowl is uneven but intact; however, it is filled with dust, dirt and grime. The briar looks lifeless and bone dry and has taken on dull dark hues. The mortise shows heavy accumulation of oils, tars and gunk and due to which the air flow is not full and smooth. Thorough cleaning of the stummel surface and rinsing it under warm water should highlight the grain patterns. This cleaning will further reveal any other damage to the stummel surface. In all probability, I shall let the minor fills in the stummel surface remain and avoid the process of refreshing these fills. The dents and dings to the bowl cap and the rest of the stummel will be addressed to an extent once the stummel is sanded and polished using micromesh pads.

The seating of the stem tenon into the mortise is not flush. The most probable reason for this could be the accumulated gunk in the mortise. Thorough cleaning of the mortise should address this issue. The minor fill in the shank described above, is indicated with a red arrow. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized. The bite zone has tooth chatter on either surface. The lower stem surface has deep tooth indentation that, in all probability, would need to be filled. The button edges on both surfaces have minor bite marks and would need to be sharpened. The tenon is smeared in oils and tars and grime and so is the horizontal slot. The high quality saddle stem bears the trademark logo “H” on the left face of the saddle and would need to be refreshed/ highlighted. Overall, the stem is in a decent condition and the high quality of the vulcanite means that it should take on a nice shine readily.The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by reaming the chamber with size 1 and 2 heads of the` Castleford reamer. With my fabricated knife, I further scraped the chamber walls to remove the remaining carbon deposits and also scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are in pristine condition with no signs of heat lines/ fissures. The beveled inner rim edge shows signs of minor charring in the 10 ‘O’ clock direction which will be addressed by light sanding along the beveled edge. This charring further extends to the outer rim edge as well and will be addressed while topping the rim top. The rim top surface itself is peppered with dents/ dings and scratches which will be smoothed by topping. The problem of the chipped outer edge will be resolved during the topping of rim surface followed by creating a slight bevel, if need be. The ghost smells are still very strong and may further reduce after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned. This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The mortise was a bear to clean and the heap of pipe cleaners, q-tips that were used and the pile of scraped out gunk is an indication of how dirty the shank internals were. The old smells of the tobacco are still strong and would need more invasive methods to get rid of these odors.With the bowl internals clean, I moved to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Briar Cleaner, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover, to scrub the stummel and rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the product to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I diligently cleaned the grooves between the bowl rings that separated the bowl cap from rest of the stummel surface. The stummel surface, including the rim top has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. The lower edge of the bowl cap has chipped areas that were exposed during the cleaning of the grooves. I shall try to even it out by sanding in between the grooves with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The three very small fills that I had noticed under magnification, are all solid and refreshing them is not required. I shall subject the chamber to cotton and alcohol treatment to eliminate the ghost smells completely as the smell is still very strong. Next I cleaned the internals of the stem with bristled pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. With my fabricated knife, I gently scraped out the dried gunk from the tenon end and the horizontal slot. I further cleaned out the stem internals with a shank brush and dish washing liquid soap. Once the stem internals were cleaned, I sanded the entire stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper in preparation for dunking the stem in Before and After Deoxidizer solution.I thereafter, dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making it’s further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. I usually dunk stems of the pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked in a pastel blue arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak overnight for the solution to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I used cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By the next morning, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally.The next morning, after I had cleaned the chamber and shank, I removed the stem that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Magic Eraser pad followed by Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. This now gives a clearer picture of the extent of depth of the bite marks as can be seen in the pictures below. These will definitely require a fill even after I have heated and raised the vulcanite. I need to rebuild the entire button edges on both the upper and lower surface of the stem. Traces of stubborn deep seated oxidation can be seen, especially on the saddle portion of the stem that would need to be eliminated before polishing the stem.To begin repairs to the stem, I sanded the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper till the complete oxidation was eliminated from the stem and saddle portion in particular. I cleaned the entire stem and areas in the bite zone with cotton swab and alcohol. Next, I filled the tooth indentations in the lower surface with a mix of clear CA superglue and activated charcoal and set it aside to cure. After the glue had partially hardened on the lower surface, likewise, I filled the upper surface tooth marks and set the stem aside for the superglue to harden completely. Once the fill has hardened, I shall file and sand the fills to reconstruct the bite zone and the buttons on either surfaces and subsequently match it with the surface of the stem.I turned my attention to address the damage to the stummel. I next decided to smooth the rim top surface dents/dings and the charred surface in 10 o’clock direction extending from inner to outer rim edge. I topped the rim top surface on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently for the progress being made as I hate to loose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. The darkened rim top extending from inner to outer edges can still be seen, though much greatly reduced. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I cleaned the bevel on the inner edge of the rim top surface to minimize the darkening. This helps to mask and address the minor dents and dings that had remained on the rim edges after topping. I am careful so as not to alter the profile of the stummel by excessive topping or creation of the bevels. I am pretty pleased with the appearance of the rim top and edges at this stage. The following pictures show the progress being made and improvements to the inner and outer rim edges.I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. The minor outer rim damage was repaired to a very large extent and so was the darkening during this process. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grain and the clean classic lines of this pipe are worthy of appreciation. At this point in the restoration, I remembered that I had to even out the lower edge of the bowl ring. I firstly cleaned the debris that was lodged in between the rings with a sharp knife after the sanding and polishing process. I folded a piece of 220 grit sand paper and inserting it into the grooves, evened out the edges.Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works it’s magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the Bird’s eye and cross grains with the natural patina of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel which may be insufficiently described in words and be rather seen in person. With the stummel rejuvenation almost complete, save for the final wax polish, I worked the stem. The fill had cured and with a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. To bring a deep shine to the stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. I am pretty happy with the way the stem repairs have shaped up and also the buttons have a nice delicate shape to them. The finished stem is shown below. I used a white correction pen to highlight the stem logo. I smeared the correction ink over the logo and once dried, I gently wiped out the excess ink. The stem logo “H” is now prominently visible.I have now reached the homestretch in this restoration project. To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is ready to join my collection of other Hardcastle’s pipes that I have inherited. I only wish it could share with me it’s story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend or maybe just keep admiring it!! A big thank you to all the readers who have joined me on this path by reading this write up as I restored and completed this project.