Tag Archives: fitting a stem

Refreshing a Zenith Double Walled Ceramic Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a group of pipes that we purchased from an antique store in in Montana, USA on one of Jeff’s pipe hunts. It is a double walled ceramic pipe with an acrylic stem. The pipe is stamped on the brass band on the shank and reads ZENITH [over] HOLLAND. Like a meerschaum it has begun to develop a nice patina around the sides of the bowl mid bowl. The finish was dirty and there was gum from price tags on the surface of the stem. The bowl was moderately caked and there was some darkening on the inner edge of the rim. The edges looked to be in excellent condition. The stem was in good condition other than the labels that had been stuck on it and some tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The pipe showed promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the condition of the rim top and domed edges. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the porcelain bowl looked like.    He took photos of the stamping on the band. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I turned to Pipedia to look up the brand and find out the background on the Zenith brand as I like that background on the pipes I work on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Zenith). For me the background adds colour to the restoration work. I quote in full the article below.

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes

Zenith is a porcelain pipe brand whose origins go back to 1749 when half the population of Gouda, around 10 thousand people, were employed in pipe manufacturer.

The brand itself was created at the end of World War I and belongs to Royal Delft. The factory has always been in the same family, and Aart van der Want (eighth generation) has been its head since 1984.

(The following is courtesy, Amsterdam Pipe Shop)

History

The history of the Zenith factory starts in 1749 when Pieter van der Want becomes master pipe maker of the Gouda pipemakers’ guild. He is the first of eight generations of pipe makers in succession from father to son. From the 1950’s the Zenith company is the oldest pipe factory in the world, the firm Chacom in Saint-Claude, founded 1780, is the second oldest.

After having produced clay tobacco pipes for a period of over 150 years, the Gouda factory modernizes its techniques. Pipes were no longer pressed from stiff pipe clay in metal moulds but are shaped in plaster moulds with liquid clay, the so-called slib cast technique. The backed products are covered with a transparent glaze that gives them a smooth, shiny and delicate look. The glaze also makes them less breakable.

Due to the porosity of the ceramic, the slib casted pipes absorb all the moist which attributes Zenith pipes the quality of a cool and dry smoke. In the 1920’s the product is perfected when the so-called “hollow bowl system” is introduced. Between the outside glazed pipe and the inner bowl an open space is created in which the smoke can circulate, where it cools down and the humidity of the smoke is absorbed by the pottery sherd. This invention makes the Zenith pipe to the ultimo dry smoker. Above that, ceramic is the best material to keep the aroma alive, without adding a taste of the pipe itself.

Characteristics

Zenith pipes are produced in a variety of designs and finishes. The ordinary pipe is single walled being mounted with a metal ferrule and a black vulcanite mouthpiece. From the moment of its introduction, circa 1900, millions were sold. After a period of smoking a picture appears on the pipe, that becomes visible when the pipe itself turns brown by the tobacco moist. These so-called mystery pipes were highly fashionable in the 1920’s but are still available with more recent images.

The best known series are the “Old Mokum” pipes. The shapes were designed from the 1970’s onwards by designers like Niels Keus and Dirk van der Want. Credit is that the designs are fully new and different to the common briar pipe. Pipes of the Old Mokum series are mounted with a black rubber plug that holds the vulcanite mouthpiece. The shape named Amsterdam is the larges and gives the best cooling. The smaller version is called Manhattan, having an almost time less look, modern for eternity. Especially younger smokers favour this shape. More traditional are the calabash and a heeled shape known as London.

More luxurious are the shapes from the series “Black Magic”, named after foreign towns like Karachi and Bombay. They are characterized by an own design line having a bulbous bowl and a sportive stem shape. Standard production colour is black, but white and blue varieties are available as well. Next to the round version the series are produced in an octagonal version named facet. Their shape is more subtle, the price however is a bit higher.

The “Gouda classic” is the line more like the traditional briar pipes or the meerschaum pipes. Straight and bent versions are in production with the standard billiard bowl, the Dublin and a bent London. These pipes are mounted with a gilt metal band that underlines their exclusive finish.

The Amsterdam Pipe Shop selection

Amsterdam Pipe Shop is the only shop in Holland that supplies the complete assortment of Zenith. Prices go from 30 to 95 Euro for the standard shapes. Compared to briar pipes these prices are very reasonable while the Zenith pipe offers a unique smoke experience because in no other pipe the taste of the tobacco is so pure as in ceramic. The cooling system is a guarantee for a dry, cool and tasteful smoke. Starting to smoke a Zenith pipe is simple as can be, since the long and annoying period of breaking in a new pipe can be skipped.

Next to the standard white versions Amsterdam Pipe Shop also carries the coloured Zenith pipes. Among them the shapes like Bombay, Karachi, also the Duke, a comfortable bent reading pipe. Above that, also a series of Delft blue versions are available, especially popular among American smokers.

From the article I followed a lead to the Amsterdam Pipe Shop and picked up the following page that gives a great summary of the history that is edited for the Pipedia article. I have included a screen capture of the entire page below as well as the link (http://www.pijpenkabinet.nl/Smokiana/04-E%20Zenith.html).Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He scraped the bowl of  the pipe with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the cake that was there.  He scrubbed both the interior and the exterior of the pipe and bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. 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 all purpose cleaner to remove the sticky glue on the topside and the grime on the surface. He rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top and inner edge of the rim looked very good. The glaze on the bowl shown beautifully the inner edges and bowl were very clean. The patina on the bowl looked very good. The stem surface looked very good with some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is an acrylic taper stem. There is a cork gasket in the shank that holds the metal tenon firmly in place against the shank end. This photo shows some of the waves of patina that are developing along the walls of the shank and bowl. It really is a pretty pipe. The bowl was in excellent condition and the glaze on the ceramic sealed it well. I did not need to polish or wax the bowl at all. It really is an effortless cleanup for me in terms of the bowl after Jeff’s cleanup. I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads to remove the light tooth chatter and marks near the button. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Holland Zenith Double Walled Ceramic Calabash with an amber coloured acrylic taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The stamped Zenith Holland stamp on the left side of brass ferrule is clear and readable. The patina that is developing around the bowl that shines through the ceramic glaze is stunning. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad which real brings the shine out with the wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Zenith Double Walled Ceramic Calabash fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 73gr/2.57oz. I will be adding it to the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

 

New Life for a Don Style Billiard with Vulcanite Military Bit Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is another mystery pipe for Jeff and me. It does not have any stamping on the bowl heel or on the shank. Jeff thinks he may have picked it up in Montana but it not certain. The pipe is a classic billiard shaped pipe with a bit of a cant forward. It could well be someone’s repair on a broken shank but there is something about it that makes me think it was originally made this way. There was a lot of grime ground into the finish on the briar. The bowl was moderately caked and the rim top had a light overflow of lava on the top and edges of the bowl. The rim top and the inside edge showed some damage. The stem was a straight military stem with a metal fitment on the bowl end. It was dirty and lightly oxidized. It had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. It was small billiard shaped bowl with a pencil style military stem and it had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the bowl. You can see the cake in the bowl as well as the lava and the damage on the rim top and edges. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. There is some great grain under the grime coat on the bowl sides. I turned to work on the pipe itself.  Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime and all of the peeling varnish coat. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl show some darkening and damage. There was damage to the inner edge and it was rough. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I forgot to take pictures of the areas on the stem that were damaged before I filled them in with super glue but you can see the general condition even with the repairs.  I started my work on the pipe by addressing some of the damage to the rim top edges. I topped the rim on a topping board with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I also flattened the area where the stem inserted into the bowl as it was damaged.I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.   I rubbed the bowl 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 15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled the deep tooth marks next to the button with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I flattened it out with a file to blend it into the stem surface.  I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them into the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Billiard Shaped Bowl on a Don Style Pipe is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored and the stem reshaped. The grain around the bowl is quite beautiful and works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Don Style Billiard is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 16g/.60oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the Metal and Other Types of Pipe Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Don Style Brandy with Vulcanite Military Bit Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is a bit of a mystery pipe for Jeff and me. It does not have any stamping on the bowl heel or on the shank. The stem was seriously over bent to the point of being impossible to smoke. The pipe is a classic Brandy shaped pipe with peeling varnish around the bowl sides and rim top. There was a lot of grime ground into the finish on the briar. The bowl was moderately caked with tobacco debris in the bowl. The rim top had a light overflow of lava on the top and edges of the bowl. The inside edges looked to be in good condition. The stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. It had casting marks on both sides of the stem. It had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. There was some light oxidation on the stem surface. It was a large apple shaped bowl with a pencil style military stem and it had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava and the peeling varnish on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the casting marks on the side of the stem, the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks.    Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. There is some great grain under the peeling varnish coat on the bowl sides. I turned to work on the pipe itself.  Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime and all of the peeling varnish coat. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl look very good. There were still bits of varnish on the rim top. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I cleaned up the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I scrubbed the bowl with alcohol and a cotton pad to remove the remaining finish on the bowl.   The bowl had been over reamed and there was a dip/pit in the bottom of the bowl that made the bottom seem quite thin. I mixed a batch of JB Weld and applied it to the dip in the bowl bottom with a folded pipe cleaner. I set it aside to allow the repair to cure.   I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.    I rubbed the bowl 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 15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive.     I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The over bent stem needed to be addressed. I took photos of the stem as it looked when I received it. I painted the vulcanite with a lighter flame to soften it. Once it was pliable I straightened it out leaving a slight bend in the to match the flow of the bowl.One the stem was straightened out I sanded out the casting marks on the sides and the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.  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.   This Don Style pipe with a Brandy Shaped Bowl is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored and the stem reshaped. The grain around the bowl is quite beautiful and works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Don Style Brandy is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 25g/.88oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the Metal and Other Types of Pipe Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

A Dirty Gourd Calabash Brought Back to Life


Blog by Steve Laug

When my brother Jeff saw this pipe he went for it. He picked it up May of 2018 from an online auction from Lusby, Maryland, USA. This pipe appeared to be in rough shape. The meerschaum cup/bowl was full and top was filthy. It had definitely seen better days. Jeff seems to be drawn to the Gourd Calabash pipes so he continues to pick them up. There is no identifying stamping on the pipe – not on the bowl, gourd, shank or stem. It is unidentifiable. The shape and composition reminds me of many of the Pioneer Calabash pipe I have worked on but this one remains a mystery. The meerschaum bowl had a chip in the lower edge and was dirty with a thick cake and tobacco debris inside. With the bowl removed the calabash interior was also quite dirty with buildup of tars and oils. There was a heavy overflow of lava on the edges and the rim top that made it hard to know if the rim edges were damaged. The grime and dirt had been ground deeply into the finish of the gourd exterior. The briar shank extension was lifeless and dirty looking. The stem was calcified and heavily oxidized and was a mottled brown in colour. There was light tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem near the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he did his cleanup. You can see from the photos the issues that we would be dealing with in the restoration of this pipe. The next photos show the bowl and rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava and grime on the top. You can also see the likelihood of damage to the rim edges but also that it is impossible to know what it would look like once it was clean. The photos of the stem show a mottled appearance from the oxidation and some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stems.   Jeff took a photo of the chip on the meerschaum cup and the joint of the briar extension and the gourd. The joint between the extension and the gourd does not align and there is an edge on the top and bottom where they don’t match up.   Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He scraped the bowl clean with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scraped the rim top with the edge of the knife to remove the lava coat. 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 gourd exterior bowl, the meerschaum bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He worked on the interior of the gourd at the same time. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The cleaning of the stem raised more oxidation in the vulcanite. He put it in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. The tooth marks and chatter looked pretty good at this point. I took photos of the pipe before I started.  I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top is pitted and scratched and the inner edge of the rim is rough and damaged. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near and on the button.   I took the meerschaum bowl/cup off the gourd and the stem from the shank to show the parts. It is a great looking gourd that has a well curved shape. The briar shank extension also looks very good. The underside of the meerschaum is darkened but otherwise in excellent condition.  I started my work on the bowl by dealing with the damage on the inner edge of the rim top. I was able to smooth it out and preserve the roundness of the bowl. I was happy with the results that will become clearer in the photos of the polishing of the bowl with micromesh sanding pad. I set the meerschaum bowl aside and turned to work on the shank extension. I sanded the joint of the briar and the gourd with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition without damaging the shank or gourd. I wanted to remove the lip on the top side of the briar and the underside of the gourd. Once finished it looked and felt much better.  I rubbed the gourd down with Before  and After Restoration Balm to clean and rejuvenate the  gourd and give the calabash and briar a fresh look. I used some Vaseline to rejuvenate the cork gasket in the gourd. I rubbed the Vaseline into the cork, let it sit for a while and repeated the process until the cork came alive and was more elastic than it was when I started.When the cork had absorbed the Vaseline and was soft once again I pressed the meerschaum bowl into place in the calabash. It fit snugly in the bowl and looked very good.  I was able to polish out the majority of the scratches in the meerschaum and the patina in the meerschaum rose to the surface or the bowl. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.     I really enjoy finishing the work on a pipe because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and 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 meerschaum bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 1/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 56grams/1.98oz. This is one that will go on the Meerschaum Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. 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.     

Restoring a No Name Tortoise Shell Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is one that neither Jeff nor I remember picking up. It could have come to us through a trade for work on a pipe or it could have come from one of an earlier pipe hunts that either Jeff or I did. Either way, the long and short of it is that this is another pipe that we have no idea how it came into our hands. It is an attractive no name billiard with a tortoise shell stem with a fancy trio of acrylic and wood decoration on the shank end of the stem. It had a smooth finish on the bowl and a inwardly beveled rim top. Under grime on the finish it appears that pipe may have had a light brown or tan stain to highlight the grain around the bowl. There were a few small sand pit fills around the bowl on the left back and the top and right side of the shank. The pipe had no stamping on the shank or underside. There was also no identifying stamp on the stem. It was in decent condition when I brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There was a light cake in the bowl and light lava on the rim top and some damage on rear inner edge of the bowl. The stem was dirty but otherwise in good condition. There were light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. I took photos of the pipe before my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe.  I took a photo of the rim top to show the interior the bowl and the rim top and inner edge. It is moderately caked with some damage to the rim top and edges and some lava coat on the right and back top of the rim. The Tortoise Shell stem is in decent condition with light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. The two black acrylic bands were slightly smaller in diameter than the stem and the wooden insert so it gave those areas a slight bulge. I would need to smooth out the transition on both sides of the black acrylic on the stem.I took photos of the sides of the shank to show the lack of stamping. There was no stamping on the shank so it was a bit of a mystery pipe. I took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the parts of the pipe to give a sense of the parts of the pipe.I decided to begin my work on the pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top and edges. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean off the rim top and the inner edge of bowl. It took some time but I was able to bring it back to a pretty clean condition.  There is a large fill on the rim top on the back right side.The pipe had been reamed recently so all I had to do with it was clean out the shank and airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I was surprised that I also was removing some brown stain from the end of the shank.    The diameter of the shank and the diameter of the black Lucite bands on the stem did not match. I decided to sand down the shank and stem to try and smooth out the transition between them. I sanded the shank as well as the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth. This served a dual purpose of both removing the sanding debris and the dust that had accumulated in the rustication patterns around the bowl and shank.  Once I was finished the flow between the stem and shank was much smoother.  I touched up the light areas on the sanded shank and the rim top with a Maple stain pen that matched the finish on the rest of the bowl very well.   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. It looks quite nice at this point.     With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I had sanded the stem earlier to deal with the flow of the bands on the stem end. I also sanded it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I used the pads to remove the tooth marks on the stem on both sides near the button. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I am excited to finish this No Name Tortoise Shell Stem 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 the grain popping through on the bowls sides and rim top. Added to that the polished Tortoise Shell acrylic stem was beautiful. This smooth finished Billiard turned out to be a nice looking pipe that feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 49grams/1.73oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store in the Metal and Pipes from Various Makers section soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. 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 pipeman or woman.

Discovering the Vintage of a Paul Viou ‘Feather’ with the Help of Sebastien Beaud of Genod Pipes of St. Claude


Blog by Dal Stanton

When I first laid eyes on this unique ‘Feather’ or ‘Plume’ shaped pipe, I debated adding it to my own personal collection and not posting it in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection, making it available for pipe men and women to commission.  Well, the Feather did find a place in the ‘Dreamers’ collection and Daniel eventually added the P. Viou Feather to his trove of commissioned pipes totaling 7(!) benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  I acquired the P. Viou Feather from the French eBay auction block in 2018.  This ‘French Lot of 50’, which is what I have affectionately called it, has offered up several treasures – one restoration that became my first publication adding to Pipedia’s wealth of information (See: Discovering the History with the Reclamation of this Petite EPC Majestic Bent Horn Stem Billiard and for Pipedia contribution see: A. Pandevant & Roy Co.).  The picture of the Lot provided by the Parisian seller only created the urge to know what was hidden within the tangle of stems and stummels.  That I could see so many interesting shapes and horn stems supplied the impetus to acquire the Lot.  The P. Viou Feather is mostly hidden in the picture (arrow below left) and it wasn’t until later after the package arrived in Sofia and I gleefully sorted and grouped the pipes that I came to realize the treasure trove of pipes in this Lot.  The Feather grouping is pictured below.Looking more closely at the P. Viou Feather, I take some additional pictures. The nomenclature is worn and thin at points but generally recognizable.  On the left flank is stamped in fancy cursive ‘P’ [underscored] followed by ‘Viou’ which is punctuated with a flared underline.  The COM stamped on the right flank of the Feather stummel reads: St CLAUDE [over] FRANCE.  St. Claude is the pipe center of France and the birthplace of the production of briar pipes.  The horn stem is also stamped, P. VIOU.  This stamp is also thin, but I’m hopeful to refresh it later.     I had the opportunity of restoring another Paul Viou from the French Lot of 50 – a Churchwarden (See: Recommissioning a Vintage French Paul Viou Churchwarden of St. Claude).   There is scant information about the Paul Viou name on the internet that I could find.  Pipedia’s article of Paul Viou is brief:

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes’

Paul Viou was the brand and name of a French artisan who sold his pipes by correspondence and then he was a pipe supplier for military institutions. He also made sculpted pipes and sometime used horn stems.

The brand is currently sold by Jacques Craen and made by Genod in Saint-Claude, after having also belonged to Paul Guilland and Vuillard. They are stamped P. Viou and made primarily for export.

This information is confirmed by Pipephil.eu with the addition of the date of 2006 when the Paul Viou name transferred to Sebastien Beaud of Genod.As I broaden my online research, I discover that Sebastien Beaud is an interesting story.  He currently is the owner of the Genod house of pipes in St. Claude and is a younger entrepreneur.  In trying to find out further information about Paul Viou, Genod information is prevalent in the research.  The Pipedia article dedicated to Genod of St. Claude is also interesting (See: Genod).  The Genod story began in 1865 when Comoy founded pipe production in St. Claude.  In 1923 the production is taken over by Georges Vincent and in 1939, son in law John Craen joined Vincent.  John Craen’s son, Jacques, joined the business in 1959 and took over the business in 1977 where he expanded the Genod name and opened the shop in St. Claude to visitors to observe the pipe production.

From the same Pipedia article: In 2006 the young pipemaker Sebastien Beaud started his work in Jacky’s factory. As Craen himself he took over the brand Viou to start with. In future he will take over the business in its entire and continue this sympathetic workshop in its traditional way.

In the excerpt above, the Paul Viou line is mentioned as continuing under Genod during the Craen period, then Sebastien Beaud took over the Viou line.  Unfortunately, this article nor the article in Pipedia dedicated to Paul Viou, provide much in the way of specific dating of the Paul Viou branding.

I’ve searched several forums for answers to questions regarding when the historical Paul Viou began production using this name?  The Paul Viou Feather, or Plume (French translation) appears to have some age.  The horn stem would suggest a dating in the 1940s during the rubber shortages of WW2.  Horn became a ‘go to’ material in place of rubber compound stems.  Yet, a question arises regarding this older dating when I discovered in Genod’s current offerings of pipes on its website an almost identical ‘Plume’ yet, not with a horn stem but an ebonite or vulcanite stem (See: Link). Also missing is the P. Viou nomenclature. Furthermore, more than many pipe manufacturers today, Genod’s quality offerings include many horn stemmed options.  I like this(!) but it brings into question the necessity of an older dating for the P. Viou on my worktable.With the foundational question being, when did the P. Viou name begin?  Was it before or during the Craen era of Genod?  Was the P. Viou stamp on this Feather an indicator of a pre-Genod production?  My experience with tracking down and nailing down French pipe production details has never been easy but always interesting!

Potentially to find answers about the dating of the Paul Viou name, I sent an email via the ‘Contact’ form provided on the Genod website.  I have been surprised in the past to receive responses from ‘Hail Mary’ requests to pipe houses in Europe and America.  We’ll see what happens.

Well, I am continually amazed at ‘names’ in the pipe world being accessible to folks like me!  The next day I received a reply from Sebastien Beaud, currently at the helm of Genod.  I include my original message with the replies that followed:

DAL:   Greetings,  Thank you in advance for your time! I restore vintage pipes and publish the restoration process and research online at www.ThePipeSteward.com. I have restored some Paul Viou pipes and have researched a lot and enjoy the connection of Paul Viou and Genod. However, there is very little information that I can find on the internet regarding Paul Viou, historically. Can you please provide any information about Paul Viou’s origins, when he lived, when the P. Viou name started being placed on pipes? My current restoration is a P. Viou Plume with a horn stem. I see that you still produce these shapes on your website but with Ebionite stems. I’m trying to determine the potential dating of this pipe but cannot find much information about when Paul Viou came onto the pipe scene. Thanks so much for your help in advance if you are able!

———–

Dear Dal,

Congratulations for your work and your website! All I know about Paul Viou is that as a former officer in the French army, he used to advertise his pipes in the army magazines.  So he used to sell a lot to the soldiers during the Algerian war, back in the 50’s / 60’s. He ran the business together with his wife Odette.  Their workshop was located right next to ours, and when they got old, Jacques Craen, started making pipes for them.  At the same time, Jacques Craen created the “Genod” brand to start selling directly to the smokers instead of selling to whole sellers. Genod is a tribute to his grandfather Georges Vincent-Genod (on his mother’s side) with whom he had learned and from whom he inherited the workshop. In the early 90’s, Jacques bought the Paul Viou brand and customers’ addresses file. I myself took over when Jacques retired, and kept Paul Viou’s name for a while, but it is the exact same product as a Genod pipe, so now I stamp all the pipes “Genod”.  I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Sebastien BEAUD
www.maitrepipier.fr
SARL GENOD VIOU
13 Faubourg Marcel – BP 145
39205 SAINT CLAUDE Cedex FRANCE
Tél. (+33) (0)3 84 45 00 47

———

DAL: Sebastien,  Thank you so much for responding to my inquiries! This information needs to be added to Pipedia. If I could ask one follow up question regarding the pipe on my worktable. The nomenclature is the cursive ‘P. Viou’ and COM: St. Claude, France. The horn stem is stamped, ‘P. Viou’. Can you venture a guess as to what period this ‘Plume’ was manufactured with this nomenclature and horn stem?   Before the Jacques Craen period (50/60s?) or when Jacques Craen was making them for Paul Viou (60/70s) or during the Genod period starting in the 70s but still using the ‘P. Viou’ stamp? I hope you can understand this! I’m simply trying to place this pipe in a time period. I’ve attached a few pictures if this is a help.  Again, much thanks.

———

Dear Dal,

I think this pipe has been made by Jacques Craen back in the 80’s (even though it could also be the 90’s or late 70’s).

Best regards,

Sebastien BEAUD

With deep appreciation to Sebastien Beaud for his time and for the information he supplied, I have a much better understanding of the Paul Viou name and a small piece of the man himself.  Valuable information added was regarding Paul Viou, the man.  He was formerly an officer in the French army – a military man but also a pipe man/entrepreneur.  Apparently after his time with the military and residing in St. Claude, he was undoubtedly very much a part of the ‘pipe world’ milieu and at one point added his hand to the pipe making industry.  With his connections in the military, he advertised his pipes in the military magazines of the time and in military institutions.

It is noteworthy that Sebastien pinpoints this activity during the Algerian War.  A quick search on the internet renders a Wikipedia article describing the war that was from 1954 to 1962 that found France engaged in a ‘decolonization’ war with the Algerian National Liberation Front and facing turbulent times at home with a war that garnered international attention.  The war gradually resulted in an independent Algeria – much resembling the turmoil of the Viet Nam conflict of the United States.  Paul Viou had developed his business selling pipes and during this difficult time, with French servicemen abroad, Paul Viou, along with the support of his wife, Odette, provided pipes for the troops via army magazine adds.  The personal relationship between Jacques Craen and Viou family is interesting – their shops were next door to each other and the aging of the senior Viou created a transition from Paul Viou’s actively working in the shop to his work being done by Jacques.  During this transition period, undoubtedly steps were taken to sign over the Viou name to Craen and the Vincent-Genod legacy.  Another transition alluded to by Sebastien’s words – the brand created by Jacques, “Genod”, was a tribute to his grandfather.  The Viou brand joined the Genod brand and again, this legacy was passed on to Sebastien Beaud.  The Viou name is no longer used to mark pipes, but the quality of the Viou pipe was brought under Genod craftsmanship.

One last question I brought to Sebastien was the dating of the P. Viou Feather on my worktable.  His qualified answer is somehow in sync with French pipe dating in general!  Most likely the P. Viou Feather is from the hands of Jacques in the 80s, but the late 70s or the 90s could be possibilities as well!  Much thanks to Sebastien Beaud for his help in this project!

One very interesting piece of information related to horn stems I discovered on the Genod site written by Sebastien Beaud in March of 2020 regarding Genod’s current use of horn stems (See tab: All About Pipes).  More than most pipe houses, Genod continues to fit their pipes with horn stems which I find interesting.  His article was excellent and apropos since a horn stem from the Genod house is now on the worktable!  I include his article which taught me a good bit!

Close up on the horn!

March 16, 2020in All about the pipe by Sébastien Beaud

Most of the pipes fitted to briar pipes are made of ebonite because this material combines flexibility and resistance to wear by the teeth. But other materials are interesting for the production of pipes. There is one that is dear to us, because it is comfortable, beautiful, and presents various shades of colors, it is the horn.

 Which horn for pipe stems?

The horn is made of hairs bonded with keratin, the material from which our nails are made. This hair-armed keratin protects and strengthens the bone that grows on each side of the head of cattle. The horn we use to make the pipe stems is that of the zebu. It can reach 1 meter in length. As we have seen, a horn is hollow because it contains a bone. Therefore, only the end (the tip) is suitable for turning work. A cow’s horn is therefore not long enough to be used in turning.

Zebus also have a brown, white or marbled coat, their horn presents a magnificent variety of shades, ranging from sometimes very dark brown to blond, the association of the two colors being called “marbled”.

 Filming on horn.

The zebu is bred for its meat in Brazil, Argentina and Madagascar. The horns, instead of being lost like the other inedible parts, are exported for use in the manufacture of combs, knife handles, beads, and of course, for turning pipe stems.

Once arrived in the workshops of the Jura, the horns are possibly softened by heating in a bath or steam, in order to straighten them by pressing.  Then comes cutting, turning, shaping, then drilling. Now here is a straight pipe stem.
If necessary, it can be bent in a “form” press dipped in a hot oil bath, and there it is, ready to be adjusted to the heather.

 How to maintain the horn?

An organic material, the horn offers a soft contact, and quickly takes the mark of the teeth. And what a pleasure to combine plants and animals in a beautiful object!  The maintenance of horn pipes is very simple: just avoid exposure to heat sources, and if you want to prevent the shine of the pipe fading over time, you can rub it regularly with a simple cloth, as a polish.  Choose now the pipe with horn stem that suits you, fill it with your favorite mixture, natural or aromatic, and… good tasting!

With a better understanding of the Paul Viou name and man who originally have his name to the pipes, I take a critical look at the Feather or Plume shape now on the worktable.  The grain on the stocky Feather stummel is attractive.  The briar block was cut allowing very intricate Bird’s Eye grain to emerge on both sides.  Looking at the stummel straight on – at the nose of the ‘torpedo’, the cross grain is visible connecting the sides creating the cross grain perspective.The finish on the briar is dark and in need of cleaning.  The surface shows dents and scrapes on the heel of the stummel as well as on the upper side.  The diminutive size of the Feather allows it to be the perfect ‘pocket pipe’ but in the pocket are keys and change to compete with!  The chamber has light cake buildup and will be removed to allow a fresh start for the briar.  The rim also shows caking which needs removing so that the condition of the rim can be seen more clearly and to rediscover the rim’s grain.  There are nicks and dents around the rise to the rim.  The horn stem is predominantly a dark hue except for near the bit area where it lightens.  The horn is rough but should clean up very nicely.I start the restoration of the P. Viou Feather by addressing the cake in the chamber. Only the smallest blade head is accommodated by the 3/4-inch diameter chamber.  The process of clearing the carbon cake transitions quickly to employing the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape the chamber walls.  The rim is carefully scraped as well with my Winchester pocketknife then the chamber is sanded with 240 grade sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  The progress looks good.  With the chamber cleared of the cake buildup, After taking a starting picture, I clean the external briar surface using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap.  The stummel is scrubbed with a cotton pad as well as utilizing a brass bristled brush to work on the darkened rim. The brass brush will not negatively impact the briar as it scrubs the rim.To further the cleaning the stummel is transitioned to the sink.  Using warm water, shank brushes are employed with anti-oil liquid dish washing soap to clean the internal mortise chamber.  The brass bristled brush is used a bit more on the rim.  Back at the worktable I take another picture to show the cleaning progress.  The cleaning did a great job revealing very nice looking briar. The rim is much improved as well.  With a clean stummel before me, I take a closer look at the dents and pits primarily on the underside of the stummel I observed earlier.  The rough surface is from normal wear placing the Feather stummel down on the table or other harder surfaces.  The pictures show the comparison of ‘before and after’ to see how much progress is made with the repair.The approach I take capitalizes on the fact that wood is a very porous substance – spongelike in its composition.  Using a hot iron (with my wife’s permission!), I place a wetted cloth between a hot iron and the dents and press.  The heat generated by the iron heats the water in the cloth turning it into steam which permeates the briar surface with water.  The hot steamed water is absorbed and softens the wood allowing it to regain all or some of its pre-damaged condition. A comparison after several steaming sessions shows that the main heel damaged has lessened in its severity as the briar has expanded.  The side dent is now almost invisible.  To repair the residual pitting, using a toothpick as a guide, clear CA glue is spot dropped to fill the pits.  I put the stummel aside to allow the CA to cure.Turning now to the horn stem, pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% are used to clean the airway.  Along with smooth and bristled pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99%, shank brushes are used to clean the airway.  A dental probe is used to scrape inside the slot as well as inside the nickel tenon.  Eventually, the pipe cleaners begin to emerge lighter and I move on.Before continuing working on restoring the horn stem surface, I place a piece of painter’s tape over the thin P. Viou stem stamping to protect it. In no way do I desire to contribute to its demise!I approach working on horn stem much like on vulcanite stems.  I take a few more pictures looking at the current condition of the horn material – upper and lower.  I like the solid blackish hue of the horn’s midsection contrasting with the gradual lightening of the bit.The condition of the stem is good except for one small tooth compression on the lower bit.  I fill it with a drop of CA glue and allow it to cure before sanding. The CA patches on the stummel heel have cured.  A flat needle file is used to file the glue mounds down to the briar surface. Transitioning to 240 grade paper, the patches are sanded further followed by 600 grade paper. I’m pleased with the results.  There is almost no visible reminder remaining of the rough area.  The repair blends nicely. The rim continues with darkened, scorched areas.  There are nicks as well on the right side of the rim (top of the picture below).  Using a hard backing behind a piece of 240 sanding paper, the slightly canted bevel is sanded and refreshed.  Following the 240 paper, the same is done with 600 grade paper.  I’m pleased with the refreshed rim.   Next, utilizing the full regimen of micromesh pads, the stummel is sanded.  Before sanding, painters’ tape is used to cover the P. Viou and COM on the sides of the stummel.  Using pads 1500 to 2400 the stummel is wet sanded.  Following this, the stummel is dry sanded with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The protective tape was removed for the last 3 pads to even out the briar tone.  The beauty of the briar grain emerges through the micromesh process – I’m liking what I see!   Before returning to the stem, I’m looking forward to applying Mark Hoover’s ‘Before and After Restoration Balm’ to the stummel.  I apply some of the Balm to my fingers and rub it into the briar surface.  At first it has a cream-like consistency but as it works into the briar it transforms into a waxy consistency.  After applying the Balm, the stummel is set aside for 20 minutes or so for the Balm to enrich the briar.  After 20 minutes I use a microfiber cloth to wipe off excess Balm and then hand buff the stummel to raise the shine.  I like the way the Restoration Balm enhances the natural hues of the briar.Returning now to the horn stem, the sanding process is much like that of vulcanite stems.  After the CA patch has cured filling a tooth compression, using the flat needle file, the lower bit patch is filed until level with the stem surface.  The file also helps to refresh the lower button lip. Next, I transition to 240 sanding paper and smooth further the lower bit blending the patch more.  Flipping the stem over, the upper bit is sanded to smooth and tighten the horn surface from normal wear.   Next, the entire stem is wet sanded using 600 grade paper.As with vulcanite stems, next I apply 0000 steel wool to the entire stem to smooth and shine further. While using steel wool, I also apply it to the nickel tenon which shines it up very nicely.  Next, with the P. Viou stem stamping still covered with painters’ tape, the stem is the recipient of the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, the horn is wet sanded.  Following the wet sanding, I dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I remove the tape for the last two pads to sand more closely to blend the area.  Obsidian Oil is applied and worked into the horn between each set of 3 pads.  The horn almost ‘drinks up’ the oil. To get a look at the progress, the stummel and horn stem are reunited.  Two issues surface after I do this. The seating of the stem into the mortise is off.  The next picture shows this with a gap of sunlight on the upper side of the connection point.  To remedy this, I fold a piece of 240 sanding paper and insert it between the lower halves of the stem and stummel and sand in a sawing motion.  This hopefully will even out the high point to bring the two faces back together flush – or as close as possible.   The result is good. There is still some daylight, but I’m satisfied at this point.  Sanding to remedy an unseated stem can be a bit finicky and sometimes ‘less’ is ‘more’ – I don’t want to complicate things!The other issue that emerged was that through the cleaning process the internal mortise cavity expanded somewhat so that the nickel tenon is not as snug as it should be.  The ways to fix this are limited.  If this were a vulcanite stem and tenon, the approach would be to expand the width of the tenon by heating it and forcing expansion by wedging the end of a drill bit in the softened tenon airway.  A nickel tenon, however, does not expand.  The remedy is to paint the external surface of the metal tenon with an acrylic nail polish or with CA glue.  The results are the same.  The hardening of the acrylic creates a hardened layer around the metal tenon, thus expanding its diameter and creating a snugger fit seated into the mortise.  I use a small bottle of acrylic nail polish and apply the acrylic polish with the small brush that comes along with the bottle. After each coating, I wait until the acrylic is cured before applying another layer.  After each cycle, the tenon is carefully fitted into the mortise to determine if another layer is needed.  To help it to dry evenly after each application, I ‘post’ the stem vertically on the end of a chop stick.  After several coats of clear acrylic nail polish, the fit of the stem was much snugger.  Mission accomplished.   Next, I attempt to refresh the P. Viou stem stamping, but am not successful.  The vestiges of the stamping were not deep enough to allow the white acrylic paint to grab the stamp channels.  After several attempts, I settle for what is. Now on the homestretch.  After mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, speed set at about 40% full power, I apply Blue Diamond compound to horn stem and stummel.  After completing this, a felt cloth is used to buff the pipe to clear the compound dust before applying the wax.To apply carnauba wax, the cotton cloth wheel is changed to a wheel dedicated to carnauba.  With the speed on the Dremel maintaining 40% power, wax is applied to the entire pipe.  The first coat applies the wax thoroughly over the surfaces.  Following this, the pipe is buffed up using the Dremel to make sure all the wax is dispersed and absorbed.  Finally, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further.I’m pleased with how this product of Jacques Craen in St. Claude has turned out.  With Sebastien Beaud’s generous assistance, we can date this pipe after Jacques received the P. Viou name from the aging Paul Viou and his wife, Odette, who provided pipes to French military servicemen.  This ‘Plume’ is a beautiful example of French pipe making with its subtle intricacies, flow, and lines.  The grain, especially the exceptionally tight Bird’s Eye, is pleasing to behold! The horn stem with its gentle natural bend, has unique coloring.  The glassy shine of finely polished horn is pleasing to the eye and its rustic character will make it a pleasure to enjoy tobacco fellowship.  Last but not least, the unique Plume or Feather diminutive shape allows it to cradle very nicely in the palm.  This is the second of Daniel’s commissioned pipes and he will have the first opportunity to claim the P. Viou Feather from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Restemming and Restoring a No Name Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I received another call from a customer sent to me by the local pipe shop. The fellow had a pipe that needed to be restemmed. He said he would stop by and drop the pipe off for me to work on. Irene and I were out and about so he left it in the mail box. When Irene brought it down to me in the shop the smell was overwhelmingly strong and filled the room with the overly sweet smell of years of aromatic vanilla smelling tobaccos. It was in a plastic bag and once I opened the bag it was even more pungent. The bowl was filled with a thick cake that took over half the diameter of the bowl. There was tobacco debris stuck on the walls of the bowl. The cake was sticky and tacky with the tars and oils. The exterior of the pipe was cake with sticky substances around all the sides and on the rim top. The rim top had been beat up and was in rough condition with a thick buildup of lava on the top. The finish was in rough condition with a lot of nicks and gouges around the sides of the bowl and shank. It was really a mess. The stem was chewed and split in half at the button forward for about an inch up the stem. Once I removed it the inside of the shank was as smelly as the rest of the pipe. I took photos of the pipe before I began my clean up. I took a photo of the rim top to show condition of the bowl. You can see the damage to the top and the inner and outer edge. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the thick lava coat on the heavily damaged rim top. It is a very dirty pipe. I also took photos of the stem to show its condition. It has tooth marks and cracks on the top and underside of the stem near the button.  You can also see that the stem does not fit tightly against the shank but has gaps on both sides. I took the pipe apart and took photos of the pipe as a whole. It is in rough condition and I think that the stem was a replacement at some point in its life.The pipe stunk so bad and filled the room with the odor to the degree that I decided to clean the bowl before restemming the pipe. I reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer using three of the four cutting heads. I removed the cake back to bare walls so I could check for damage to the inside of the bowl from heat or otherwise. I scraped the remainder of the cake from the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and scraped the rim top at the same time. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I worked to get the thick grime off the outside of the bowl and shank. I rinsed it with running water and rinsed off the soap and grime. I cleaned out the shank and the airway into the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to remove the tars and buildup in the shank. I wanted the shank clean before I fit a new stem.I built up the inside edge of the bowl and the damage to the rim top with super glue and briar dust. I layered the mixture on the rim and rebuilt the inner edge. Once I had it built up I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. Once I topped it smooth I stained the rim top with a Maple Stain Pen. I found a stem that was the same diameter as the ruined stem. I turned it on the PIMO tenon turning tool and my hand drill. I took the excess material off the diameter and the length of the stem to get a snug fit in the shank. I took photos of the fit of the stem to the shank. The fit of the stem to the shank end was the same as the previous one.There was a gap on both sides and it sat firm against the top and bottom. I examined the shank end and saw that it had been damaged and was no longer flat. I decided to square it up with a thin brass band as it would give a flat surface for the stem to face against. I glued and pressed it onto the shank end and set it aside to cure.   I used the Dremel and sanding drum to take down the excess diameter of the stem and sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. Once I had the fit correct I put the stem in place on the pipe and took photos of the fit and look at this point in the process.    I filled in the nicks and chips in the finish with briar dust and clear super glue. Once it had cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to remove the finish and the dust on the briar.  I restained the bowl and shank with a light brown aniline stain. I flamed it with a lighter and repeated the process several times until I had the coverage that I was looking for.Once the stain had cured I took the pipe off the cork and took photos of the stained look of the bowl and shank with the brass band.   I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to make the stain more transparent. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down between pads with a damp cloth. 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 sanded out the scratch marks on stem from the Dremel with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. 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 the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem.  This pipe has come a long way from where it was when I received it to restem. It is not flawless but it looks better. The Vancouver piper who it belongs to has received far more that what he originally wanted – just a new stem. The briar around the bowl is clean and looks better. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The rim top while not perfect is far better. I put the newly fitted 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. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inch, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The pipeman will be picking it up soon and will be reintroduced to this pipe. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Unplugging a Plugged stem on a Peterson’s 2018 Pipe of the Year


Blog by Steve Laug

On Tuesday this week I received the following email from a fellow here in Vancouver regarding repairing a couple of pipes for him. He wrote as follows:

Hi Steve… You were recommended to me by our good friends at City Cigar (Vancouver).  I have 2 pipes I’d love to have rescued – if possible!  Please let me know if you could be of service.  I’ve attached a few photos.

One is a Peterson 2018 Pipe of the Year, Smooth Fishtail.  Pipe is great – except there is an unsolvable (for myself) blockage in the stem.  I think the filter is damaged.

The other is an unfortunate Savinelli; the actual wood is broken, right at the connection between pipe body and stem.

Let me know your thoughts!  I’d love to regain these to a workable state if possible; they are lovely pipes.

Thanks kindly and best regards, Zak

He included pictures of both pipe for me. It was time to work on the plugged stem in the Peterson 2018 POY. Here is the photo that Zak included with his email. Once I saw the pipe I confirmed that the stem was not sitting correctly in the shank and the finish on the bowl was dirty and needed a little attention. Once I had the stem cleared out I would clean up the exterior of the bowl.I did a Google search for the Peterson 2018 Pipe of the Year to double check the fit of the stem to the shank. It is not fit against the shank in the above photo but in the ones that I found on two different sites (same pipe) the stem was a snug fit against the shank. I have included the links and photos that I found below.

The first photo is from Petersonpipenotes site. The write up there by Mark Irwin is a great read (http://petersonpipenotes.org/2018/01/16/77-first-look-the-2018-peterson-pipe-of-the-year/).The second photo is from and advertising page on the GQTobaccos.com site for the Peterson’s 2018 Pipe of the Year (https://www.gqtobaccos.com/tobacco-pipes/peterson-pipe-of-the-year-2018-smooth/).The pipe I am working on is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Peterson [over] Of Dublin [over] Pipe of the Year [over] 2018 [over] 47 of 500. The Sterling Silver Band on the shank is stamped on top and reads Peterson [over] Dublin. On the underside it reads Peterson [over] three hallmarks. I have included the Hallmark chart from Peterson below. I have also done a screen capture of the section entitled Peterson Silver Hallmarks.  I am not sure what to make of the information on the band as it does not match the 2018 year on the POY.The photo to the left explains the hallmarks on this Peterson 2018 Pipe of the Year.

The first hallmark on this pipe is what is noted as Hibernia – a seated woman with her arm on a harp. This represents the country of manufacture – Ireland.

The second hallmark is 925 in an oval. It is the standard European Mark or Millesimal Mark which gives the purity or quality of the silver in parts per 1000.

The third hallmark is the Date Letter Code for the year in which the silver was hallmarked. The Date Letter on this pipe band is an italic upper case “G” which according to the chart dates the band to 1992. It is interesting that the band is on a pipe that is a Pipe of the Year for 2018. I am not sure what to make of that conflicting information. Was the band old stock made previously? I am not sure I will ever know that for sure.

I decided that the first thing I would work on was the fit of the stem to the shank. The shank itself was dirty and there was a thick coat of stain on the inside that had tar and oils built up on it that kept the tenon from seating properly in the shank. I took photos of the pipe as it looked when I received it. Compare the fit of the stem in these photos with the fit in the photos of the same pipe above. I cleaned out the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the build up from the walls of the shank that prevented the stem from seating properly. There was also a lot of stain on the inside of the shank that must have influenced the taste of the smoke.  I smoothed out the ridges on the tenon with 220 grit sandpaper and made it smooth to allow an easy push into the shank.  I put the stem on the shank and took photos of the proper looking 2018 Pipe of the Year.   With the fit of the stem to the shank corrected it was now time to deal with the plugged stem. Zak thought that there was a filter jammed up the airway. My guess, judging on the size of the airway in the tenon and stem was that it was a broken pipe cleaner or even just pipe cleaner debris compacted and blocking the airway. I tried to push a cleaner in from both directions to try and locate the blockage. I was able to assess that it was equal distance from the tenon end and the button end – dead center in the stem, just before the bend.

I began my work on the obstruction by using a small drill bit and turning it into the clog without pushing the clog further up the stem. I was able to pull out some of the debris using that method but I did not push it as I did not want to move it up the stem. Once I had it drill I used a pipe cleaner to drip some acetone on the blockage. I repeated that from both ends of the stem and let the acetone sit and work on the blockage. I was hoping that it would dissolve any tar or oils that held the plug tightly in place in the stem.I was hoping to unplug it without heating and straightening and rebending the stem with my heat gun. After the acetone had soaked on the plug for a while I used an unfolded paper clip to push and pick at the plug. I inserted it from both ends and worked on the blockage.  After working the block over with the wire I was able to break through the blockage. The airflow was very constricted but at least there was some air. I cleaned the airway with a pipe cleaner and alcohol, working on the clog from both directions. I used the wire to pick away at the edges of the plug and loosen it. The pipe cleaners push out what the wire had loosened. In the next photos you can see the pile of darkened pipe cleaner debris that I was able to work out of the airway. I worked on the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol until the airway was clean and the airflow was no longer hampered.    With the stem finish I cleaned up rim top and beveled rim edge and then 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 buffed the Sterling Silver band with a jeweler’s cloth and removed the tarnish coat. This nicely grained Peterson 2018 Pipe of the Year with a Sterling Silver band and an acrylic taper stem with an inlaid silver P is a great looking pipe. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the acrylic 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 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: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 54grams/1.90oz. The pipe will be going back to Zak along with the Savinelli I finished earlier. He will see them in person soon, so he can enjoy them both again. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Breathing Life into an Italian Made Smooth Finish Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from a group of pipes that Jeff picked up in an online auction in Brookfield, Wisconsin, USA. It is a chunky Bullmoose with a saddle stem. The stamping is clear and readable on the shank/stem junction and reads Made in Italy. The filthy oils and grimes are ground into the finish of the bowl. The thick grime makes the grain almost invisible but from what I can see there is some amazing grain that the Bullmoose shape follows well. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. The vulcanite saddle stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the lava overflow. The photos of the stem show the light oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides.    The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the grain around the pipe. It is a beauty under the grime and dust.     The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photo below. It is very readable. It reads as noted and explained above.   I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had carried out his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake and cleaned the reaming up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very clean when I received it.  I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the damage on the inner edge on the left front. It is roughened and chipped and out of round. The saddle stem came out looking quite good. There are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. You can also see the only stamping on the pipe in the third photo below at the shank/stem junction it reads Made in Italy. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.I decided to start the restoration on this one by dealing with a crack in the shank. I have drawn a box around it in the photo below. It goes from the shank end into the shank about ½ of an inch. It is a hairline crack. I painted the shank end with some all-purpose glue and pressed a thin brass band on the shank end. I wiped the shank end down afterward with a damp cloth to remove the glue that squeezed out.I wiped down the shank with a damp cloth and dried it off. I put the stem on the shank and took photos of the pipe as it looked with the new bling.    I removed the stem from the shank and worked on the damage to the rim top. I worked the inner edge over with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the rim edge a slight bevel. I then topped the bowl on a 220 grit sandpaper topping board. I smoothed out the top with some more 220 grit sandpaper.    I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded the bowl with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The briar really took on a shine by the final pads.  With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the twin lines around the bullcap. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.      I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was rough and pitted so I sanded it smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    Before polishing the stem further I decided to give a slight bend to match the flow of the curve in the pipe. I heated it with a heat gun until it was pliable (I put a pipe cleaner in the airway to make sure it did not collapse).  I bent the stem the angle I wanted and set it by cooling it with running water while holding the shape. I took a photo of the new look of the stem.   I polished the vulcanite by wet sanding 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.     This Italian Made Smooth Finish Bullmoose is a beautiful pipe with a smooth finish. It is a bit of a mystery in that there is no other stamping on the pipe. It is a great looking pipe that came out looking very good. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The rich medium brown stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The brass band is a nice touch of bling that separates the briar from the stem. The polished black vulcanite saddle stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Italian Made Bullmoose is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 58 grams/2.05oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. 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.

Restoring An Early Butz Choquin “A Metz” No. 2


Blog by Paresh

Over the last few years that I have been on eBay, I have had mixed experiences about buying pipes. After a few trial and errors and dealing with various sellers on eBay, I have shortlisted a few sellers who have consistently and flawlessly been delivering pipes to me and over the years a bonding has developed between us. The best part about these sellers is the description of the condition of the pipe that is up for sale/ auction. One such seller is a French gentleman who always has unique French pipes up for sale in his store. The next pipe that got my attention is a beautiful bent billiard with a horn stem that came to me from this seller last year.

The pipe is a large bowled bent billiards with brass shank end band with a dark brown cherry wood (?) shank extension and a horn stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank as “BUTZ- CHOQUIN” in an arch over “A” over “METZ” in an inverted arch, all in block capital letters. The bottom of the shank bears the stamp “No 2” at the shank end just below the brass band. The horn saddle stem has the logo “B C” stamped in to the left side of the saddle. The brass band is stamped as “DOUBLE” over “B” followed by four leaf clover followed by letter “L”. The entire stamping on the brass band is within a shield cartouche. An interesting piece of information that I learned is that the Four Leaf Clover is a symbol of GOOD LUCK! Nearly two years ago I had worked on another inherited CHOQUIN A METZ with an Albatross wing bone shank extension and horn stem. The pipe had silver adornments at the shank end and tenon end of the horn stem. Here is the link to the write up;

https://rebornpipes.com/2018/11/17/a-challenging-restoration-of-vintage-era-first-choquin-a-metz/#comments

I had researched the pipe and the brand then and also recollect the overwhelming response to the queries that I had posted on pipe restorers group on FB. The similarity in the stampings was proof enough for me to be convinced that the pipe currently on my work table is from the early 1900s. But I was desirous of trying to narrow down to an exact period.

I searched pipedia.org to see if it contained the details that I sought. The site has very scant information about the brand with lots of pictures, but what is available makes it an interesting read and I quote;

“The pipe, from Metz to Saint-Claude. Jean-Baptiste Choquin of Metz started out as a tobacconist. This enterprise was prosperous; he had several employees. Among those, there was a certain Gustave Butz who was its first workman and who became his son-in-law by marrying Choquin’s daughter Marie in 1858.

In 1858 Jean-Baptiste Choquin created, in collaboration with Gustave Butz, the Choquin pipe. This bent pipe with a flat-bottomed bowl was finished with an albatross-bone mouthpiece, fixed with silver rings. (The above describes the CHOQUIN A METZ pipe I had worked on earlier dating it to 1858)

In 1858, still in Metz, Gustave Butz built an establishment for the manufacture of the Choquin pipe which took the name of Butz-Choquin. In 1951, the Berrod-Regad company bought the trademark, continuing manufacture until 2002. Departing from Metz, the workshop was relocated to Saint-Claude, then also called “the world capital of the briar pipe,” under the Berrod-Regad group. The Berrod-Regad group would go on to completely rebuild the network of representatives until finally entering the export market in 1960 and has since won several prizes, as well as the Gold Cup of French good taste.

In a few years, the brand’s collection increased from ten to seventy series. 135 years after it was founded, the pipe is still well-known not only in France but throughout the world. In 2002, the Berrod family, wishing to preserve manufacture of pipes in Saint-Claude, handed over the company to Fabien Guichon, a native of the area, who will continue to develop the brand during the 21st century.”

From the above reading, this pipe is pre-1951 when Berrod- Regad purchased the trademark and relocated the workshop to Saint- Claude. The stampings of A METZ is the proof pointing towards pre-1951, the birth town of Butz- Choquin pipes. Secondly, the horn stem and cherrywood shank extension narrows down the dating to be pre-1920 since thereafter, vulcanite and other stem materials gained popularity and preference over bone/ horn stem. Thus, I think the pipe dates from somewhere 1910s to 1920.

I have reproduced some snippets of information about Cherry wood for those readers not familiar with this wood (like me of course!)

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
The heartwood of cherry varies from rich red to reddish brown and will darken with age and on exposure to light. In contrast, the sapwood is creamy white. The wood has a straight-grain, a fine, uniform, satiny and smooth texture, and naturally may contain brown pith flecks and small gum pockets.

WORKING PROPERTIES
Cherry is easy to machine, nails and glues well, and when sanded and stained, it produces an excellent, smooth finish. It dries fairly quickly with moderately high shrinkage, but dimensionally is stable after kiln-drying.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
Cherry is of medium density with good bending properties, has low stiffness, and medium strength and shock resistance.

AVAILABILITY
Readily available.

MAIN USES
Fine furniture and cabinet making, moulding and millwork, kitchen cabinets, paneling, flooring, doors, boat interiors, musical instruments, turnings, and carvings.

Initial Visual Inspection
This is a three piece Butz- Choquin pipe with a briar stummel, a Cherry wood shank extension and a horn stem. The first thing noticed was the fit of the shank extension in to the stummel (marked with blue arrows) and that of the screw in tenon end of the shank extension in to the stem (marked with red arrows) was not flush and seamless. The stummel shows some nice mixed straight and cross grains all across. The stummel had dirt and grime accumulated over the surface giving it a dull and lifeless look. One fill is visible on the right side in the stummel surface. The pipe, as it sits on my work table, is shown below. Detailed Visual Inspection
As observed earlier, the pipe has three parts, the briar stummel, a tapered Cherry wood shank extension and lastly a horn stem. Each of these three parts will be inspected and addressed separately.The chamber has a thin even layer of cake in the chamber. The chamber walls shows signs of being gouged with some sharp serrated tool that may have been used for reaming. The rim top surface is without any serious damage, save for some minor dents. The inner rim edge has been made uneven by reaming with a knife and appears slightly darkened at the front and rear of the stummel. However, the outer edge has a few very minor dents and dings. The old smells from the tobacco are overwhelming. The gouges to the walls are most probably limited over the surface of the thin layer of cake and should be eliminated once the cake is completely reamed out. The issues of minor dents/ dings over the rim top and darkened inner rim edges will be addressed by topping. Cleaning of the chamber should reduce these old ghosting smells. The stummel surface has a thin coat of lacquer that has peeled off from the surface at a number of places. The stummel, with some beautiful scattered mix of straight and cross grains over the entire surface, has dirt and grime ground in to it over the years. However, these grains are hidden under all the dirt and grime. The stummel has one large fill in the briar on the right side (encircled in pastel blue) and a number of minor scratches all over the surface. Once the stummel surface has been thoroughly cleaned, the beautiful grains over the surface should be easily appreciable. I shall refresh the single fill with a mix of briar dust and superglue. Sanding the surface with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper will address the issue of scratches and also completely eliminate the lacquer coating.   The draught hole opening in to the mortise is drilled above the end wall of the mortise, forming a sump/ well for accumulating the oils and tars, thus providing a dry smoke. This sump is dirty with accumulation of old oils and tars. The draught hole is also clogged making the draw hard and laborious. The cleaning of the sump will necessitate resorting to salt and alcohol treatment. Once this process is completed, the ghosting should be completely eliminated.   The brass shank end band came off easily. The band is completely oxidized from inside as well as outside with signs of corrosion over the inside surface. The band is cracked at one place. There is nothing much I can do about the crack in the band other than stabilize it with superglue. Maybe a weld could be a permanent solution, but neither do I have the expertise nor the equipment to execute such metal repairs. I shall polish the brass band to a nice shine and this will add some nice bling to the overall appearance of the pipe. The tapered Cherry wood shank extension still has the bark intact over the surface. The cherry wood extension is a nice reddish brown colored piece that has taken on darker hues with age (remember the property of a cherry wood that I have mentioned above?). This bark has been chipped in a few places exposing the light colored inner surface. The tenon end of this extension has a prominent groove (marked with yellow arrows) that suggest the presence of a band at the end that had come loose over a period of time and is now lost. The threaded tenon end of this extension has worn off threads (indicated with blue arrows) while the extension that fits in to the shank has cracked surface (marked with pastel blue arrows). The threaded stem end tenon is tapered and shows heavy accumulation dried glue and debris at the base. This, most likely, is the reason for the gap between the horn stem and the shank extension when fitted. The shank end tenon has a inner tube that provides the required rigidity and protection to the tenon. Both ends of the shank extensions are covered in dried oils, tars and gunk. I shall fabricate and fix a brass band over the shank extension at the stem end. Once the brass band is in place and the dried glue and debris from the base of the stem end of the tenon is cleaned, the seating of the stem over the cherry wood shank extension would be flush and seamless (I hope so!!). The issue of worn out threads can be addressed in two ways; firstly coat the tenon with clear nail polish which, while being a temporary solution, has the advantage of being able to take on grooves matching the stem and making for a better fit. The second option is of using CA superglue coating which is a more permanent solution but, I guess, will make for a push- pull type of fit between the shank extension and the horn stem when the glue hardens. I shall decide on the best course of action whence I reach that stage in restoration.  The stem is a beautiful tapered saddle stem that is made from horn. The dark and light fibrous striations contrast beautifully all along the stem surface. The stem is bone dry and dirty. There is a deep tooth indentation on either surface of the stem in the bite zone. The button edges on either surface are slightly worn out with a few bite marks. The oval horizontal slot is completely clogged with accumulated oils and tars. The threaded saddle end too shows accumulated gunk. The insides of the saddle stem are lined with a thick felt lining (indicated with violet arrows) that was put in place to snugly hold the worn out tenon of the shank extension in place. This too could be a contributory factor for the incorrect seating of the stem over the cherry wood shank extension. The major challenge in this project will be to ensure a correctly aligned and flushed seating of all the parts in to each other to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the pipe. The thick felt lining needs to be removed as it is unhygienic and most importantly, it was not supposed to be there in the first place!! The horn stem, once cleaned and polished and hydrated will look stunning to say the least with the contrasting dark and light cretin fibers making for a visual treat.  The Process
I started this project by reaming the chamber, with size 3 head of PipNet reamer. With my fabricated knife, I removed the cake from areas where the reamer head could not reach. I used a 180 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber. Once I had reached the bare briar, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust presenting the walls for my inspection. The ghosting is still significant and I think more than the chamber, it the gunk in the sump and mortise that is the main culprit for the old smells. The chamber wall are in pristine condition save for some minor scratches that still remain from the old reaming. The draught hole appears slightly widened and extended forming a small channel to the foot of the chamber, likely caused due to enthusiastic use of pipe cleaner by the previous piper. These issues are superfluous, cosmetic and inconsequential to the overall functionality. The chamber wall and foot are all solid with another century of smoking pleasures left in it.   I followed up the cleaning of the chamber with that of the shank internals. Using my fabricated knife and dental tools, I first scrapped out as much of the accumulated dried crud from the sump and walls of the mortise as was possible. I further cleaned the mortise with q-tips and isopropyl alcohol. Using hard and regular pipe cleaners and alcohol, I cleaned the shank internals and the airway. A number of pipe cleaners later, the shank internals are somewhat clean however, the draw is nice, smooth and even. Traces of old oils and tars can be seen at the end of the mortise and at the base of the sump. The ghosting is still pretty strong and would necessitate using more invasive methods to eliminate these old smells. Before subjecting the stummel to salt and alcohol bath, I decided to clean the external stummel surface to remove the thin coat of lacquer and the dried glue from the shank end. I wiped the surface with pure acetone on a cotton swab. Though the lacquer coat is completely removed, the dried glue did not give way. The ghost smells in the chamber were still quite strong and hence I decided to address this issue. To eliminate the ghost smells from the pipe, I decided to treat it with salt and alcohol. I use a cotton ball which is an at par substitute to the kosher salt as I have realized over the last few years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I pack the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim’s inner edge. I soak the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol goes down, having been absorbed by the cotton. I top it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next morning, the cotton and alcohol has drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and scraped out all the loosened tars and gunk from the sump. However, the airway and the draught hole was a different story. For the love of money, I couldn’t get a folded pipe cleaner in through the airway. The moistened gunk was so hard and tightly packed that I also had to use a drill tool from the Kleen Reem reamer tool to dislodge the gunk from within the air way. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush, Scotch Brite pad and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel, horn stem and the cherry wood shank extension. After the scrub with oil soap, I washed the stummel, stem and shank extension under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the internals of the shank, shank extension and stem, with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the all the three parts aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. Next, I removed the old fills from the stummel surface with a sharp dental tool. I cleaned the gouged out spots with cotton swab and alcohol in preparation for a fresh fill. Using the layering method, I filled the gouged out spots with CA superglue and briar dust. I always ensure that the fill is above the rest of the stummel surface. This helps in subsequent sanding and blending in of the fills with rest of the surrounding surface. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure.  While the stummel fill was curing, I tackled the issues with the cherry wood shank extension. I begin with cleaning and removing all the dried glue and debris from the base of stem end tenon of the shank extension using dental tools and sharp knife. I scrapped out all the dried glue and pieces of the felt lining from the tenon and wiped it with cotton swabs and alcohol. However, hidden beneath all the dried glue and debris was a crack that ran the entire length of the tenon (indicated with yellow arrows). Close scrutiny of the crack assured me that the crack, though deep, did not extend to the inner wall of the tenon. I shall stabilize the crack first by filling it with thin CA superglue (for deeper spread) and further strengthen it with a coat of medium CA superglue. In fact, I decided to coat the entire tenon with superglue to provide a protective coat over the tenon surface.   I further cleaned the tenon with a Scotch Brite pad and dish washing soap in preparation of coating it with superglue. The stem end tenon cleaned up nicely. Just to be on the safer side, I insert an old pipe cleaner smeared with petroleum jelly in to the tenon. This will prevent clogging of the tenon airway in the event that the superglue percolated inside the airway. I filled the crack with thin CA superglue and once that had cured, I coated the entire tenon with a thin layer of medium CA superglue. I set the shank extension aside for the glue to harden.  Next, I worked on the horn stem and cleaned out all the old felt cloth lining and gunk from the threaded saddle portion of the horn stem. I further cleaned the stem internals and insides of the saddle with pipe cleaners, q- tips and isopropyl alcohol. The threads in the saddle are nice and deep and would help in creating matching threads over the superglue coated tenon in the shank extension.   Continuing with the stem repairs, I filled the deep tooth indentation in the bite zone on the upper stem surface with clear medium CA superglue. Once the fill had hardened sufficiently, I similarly filled the tooth indentation in the lower stem surface. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure. By this time, the superglue coat over the tenon of the shank extension had completely cured and I could continue with working on the shank extension. I decided to attach the missing brass band at the stem end of the shank extension. I rummaged through the various bands that I have and found one that was a near match with the size of the stem end of the shank extension. I tried a rough fit and realized that the band was a tad smaller than the shank extension face and also the band was larger than the groove in the shank extension surface. I addressed these issues by sanding down the shank extension end to match the band size and sanding down the band to a size that would fit the groove. I have had a terrible experience of using a sanding drum on my hand held rotary tool once and since then I have been doing such band modifications by manually sanding it on a piece of 150 grit sand paper. I fixed the modified band to the shank extension using superglue. The aesthetics of the pipe has been transformed completely by this addition and I am very pleased with the appearance of the shank extension at this point. Next, I addressed the issue of the exposed lighter hued surface in the shank extension caused due to chipped bark from the surface. I stained the lighter surface with a Mahogany stain pen followed by a coat with black sharpie pen. I applied the coat alternatively in layers till I achieved a perfect blend with the rest of the shank extension surface.   With the stem repairs being set aside for curing and the shank extension repairs completed, it was time to work on the stummel again. The stummel fill has cured completely at this point in time. With a flat head needle file I sand the fill and achieved a rough match with the rest of the stummel surface. To achieve a perfect blending in of the fill I sand the entire stummel surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. The minor scratches that were observed at the bottom surface of the shank were also addressed by this sanding. The fill has blended in nicely and further polishing with micromesh pads should further mask this fill and sanding marks left behind by the abrasive 220 grit sand paper.    However, I am not very happy with the appearance of the rim top surface at this stage of restoration process. The rim top appears darkened all around and suspected charring in 2 o’clock and 9 o’clock directions (encircled in yellow). To address these issues, I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper, checking frequently for the progress being made. Once I was satisfied that the issues have been addressed, I wiped the rim top with a moist cloth to remove the sanding dust. I am happy with the appearance of the rim top after topping. To bring a nice shine and eliminate the scratch marks left behind by the abrasive sandpaper, I wet sand the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean simple lines of this piece of briar is really appreciable. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar and the cherry wood extension with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. The stains that I had applied to the shank extension have perfectly blended with the rest of the cherry wood surface and look amazing in its rich dark reddish brown color. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the grains with the natural patina of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. With the stummel completed save for the final wax polish, I turned my attention back to the stem which had been set aside for the fills to cure. Using a flat head needle file, I sand the fills to achieve a rough match with the rest of the stem surface and followed it up by sanding the fills with a 220 grit sandpaper to achieve a perfect blend. The stem repairs looked good till the time I clicked pictures of the stem at this point. I was horrified when I saw the pictures as staring back at me on the lower stem surface were air pockets and that is every pipe restorer’s nightmare!! I cleaned out the old fill and applied another coat of CA superglue. Once the glue had cured completely, I repeated the entire process of filing and sanding as described above. However, the end results were the same with air pockets still presenting themselves in all their ugliness. I had repeated the entire process of refill, curing, filing and sanding two more times with the same results!! I have to accept this fact, live with it and move ahead with polishing the stem with micromesh pads.To bring a deep shine to the horn stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the horn.  I polished the brass band at the shank end with Colgate tooth powder and it really amazes me at the shine it imparts to the metal ring. I reattached the sterling silver band to the shank end using superglue taking care that the band was firmly pressed in place. The crack in the band was also stabilized with the superglue.  To refresh the stem logo, I coat the stem logo with white correction ink and let it dry out completely while I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond. Once the ink had dried out, with a toothpick, I gently removed the excess ink from the surrounding surface.To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. P.S. The coat of superglue that I had applied to the stem end tenon of the shank extension had matching threads cut in to it when I tried to seat the tenon in to the threaded saddle of the stem. However, it’s only at a particular angle that the seating of the horn stem over the shank extension is flush. It does need more tweaking, but as per my mantra “LESS IS MORE”, I shall let it be for now as the attachment of all the pipe parts in to each other is snug and solid. Maybe a few years down the line, I may address the issues of air pockets and the seating of the stem…

Thank you for your valuable time in reading through these penned processes and my thoughts. Always praying for the health and well-being of readers of rebornpipes and their loved ones. Cheers!!