Tag Archives: fitting a stem

Something about Karl Erik Freehands gets my attention


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was a beautifully grained Freehand. It had a combination of a smooth and a rusticated patch made to look like plateau. The top of the bowl and the end of the shank was true plateau. The shape of the bowl top was almost rectangular. The walls of the bowl are scooped on the sides and front of the bowl. The bottom of the bowl is multi-sided. The shank is quite thick and the underside is stamped Karl Erik over Hand Made in Denmark over 6. The bowl had a dirty finish and there was some damage on the shank end plateau. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow and grime in the plateau on both the top and the end of the shank. There was some damage on the bottom right edge of the shank plateau. A piece of briar was missing from the shank edge but it was a clean break with no cracks. I have circled the chipped area in red on the second photo. The stem was oxidized and there was tooth chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took quite a few photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. The next photo shows the rim top and the bowl. You can see the shadow of the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava in the plateau of the rim top. The finish under the grime and lava looks like it is in pretty decent shape. The inner edge of the bowl looks smooth and damage free.Jeff took pictures of the bowl from various angles to show the condition and the overall look of the pipe. I was pretty hooked with what I saw. It was a beauty underneath the grim and the damage on the shank did not affect the overall condition of the pipe. The underside of the shank is stamped Karl Erik over Hand Made in Denmark. Underneath that is the number 6. There is also a picture of the stem in the shank. It shows the oxidation on the stem and the buildup of grime on the stem surface. The next two photos show the condition of the stem. It is pitted with oxidation and there are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars there and in the plateau finish on the rim and shank end. 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. The tooth marks and chatter was clean but visible. I took the stem off and put it in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer along with a stem from a Peterson Mark Twain. Once again I totally forgot to take pictures of the pipe before I started.I did however; remember to take photos of the bowl to show its condition before I started my work on it. I really like the rustication work on the right side of the shank and the back of the bowl. Jeff did a great job removing the grime and lava from the plateau on the rim top. The inside of the bowl was incredibly cleaned and the finish on the plateau top looked good. The inner edge of the bowl looks good as well. The plateau on the shank end also looked really clean. The finish was dry but in good shape.The underside of the shank looks very good. The stamping on the shank looks really good. The damaged area on the edge of the shank end can be seen on the right side of the photo below. The grain on the shank looked really good. The contrast stain shines now that the finish has been cleaned.I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the briar with my finger working it into the plateau on the rim top and shank end with a shoe brush. The product worked to lift the grime and debris out of the grooves of the briar. I rubbed it down and scrubbed it deeper into the plateau on the top of the rim and end of the shank. I polished the briar with a soft cloth to remove the balm from the briar. I reworked the chipped area and stained it with a dark brown stain pen. The photos below show the repaired and stained area. Interestingly the shape of it and the angle matches the smooth area on the left side of the shank end.I set the bowl aside and turned back to the stem. I removed it from the soak in the Before & After Deoxidizer and wiped it down. I cleaned out the inside of the airway with alcohol to remove the product from the stem. I polished the stem with a soft cloth to remove all of the deoxidizer and give it a bit of a shine. It had removed much of the light oxidation though there were remnants in the rings and grooves above the tenon. There were still some oxidation that needed to be addressed and the button needed to be reshaped on both sides to remove the tooth marks and chatter. The photos below show what it looked like at this point. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the tooth marks, chatter and to reshape the edges and surface of the button.  I worked over the oxidation on the flat portions and on the rings and grooves in the turned stem with the sandpaper at the same time to remove it from the surface of the hard rubber stem.I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the briar when I was buffing it so that the grooves of the plateau and the rustication would not be filled in and make more work for me. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The combination of rustication, plateau and smooth finishes make this an interesting and beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 1/2 inches, Height: 2 3/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 7/8 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

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Repairing a Broken Tenon on a Birks Savinelli “Lollo”


Blog by Steve Laug

I received a call from a local pipeman who said he had broken the stem off of his favourite pocket pipe. He had been given my name by a local pipe shop. He stopped by and dropped off a small bag with the parts of his pipe in it. He had dropped the pipe down the stairs and it had bounced down to the bottom in two pieces. He was able to remove the broken tenon but the damage was done. The pipe was stamped Birks and next to that it was stamped “Lollo” over Savinelli over Italy. The pipe was actually in really good shape. The bowl was clean and the briar had some nice grain all around the sides, top and bottom. The rim was clean and there was a very light cake inside. The broken tenon had a stinger in the tenon that he wanted to preserve. The stem was oxidized and showed some tooth chatter on both sides near the button. I told him I would have a look at the pipe and decide whether to replace the tenon or the stem. He was fine either way as long as the pipe was the same when he picked it up. I put the parts of the pipe on my work table and took photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I went through my box of tenons and found one that was the proper size for the mortise. I use threaded replacement tenons on stems like this. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to smooth out the rough edges of the broken tenon left on the stem. I used a sharp knife to bevel the edge of the airway in the end of the stem. Beveling it keeps the drill bit centred when I drill out the airway for the threaded end of the tenon.I chucked a drill bit the same diameter as the threaded end of the replacement tenon.  The photo below shows the tenon on the end of the drill bit. I lined it up before drilling it so that the stem was straight and the airway would not be curved. I drilled the airway to the same depth as the threaded end of the tenon. Once the airway was straight I used tap to cut threads in the airway in the stem so that I could turn the new tenon in place. I put a drop of glue on the threads of the tenon and quickly turned it into the stem until it sat flush against the face of the stem. I pushed the stinger into the tenon end and aligned it so that the slot in it was facing the top of the stem. I checked the alignment on the new tenon and all was straight and ready.The oxidation on the stem really showed up under the bright light of the flash. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and gently worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the pipe when I was buffing to polish the bowl. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the bowl 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. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is the first little Savinelli “Lollo” I have worked on. It is well made and a beautiful piece of briar. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 4 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 3/4 inches. I will be calling the pipeman who dropped it off for repair. I think he will enjoy his pipe!

Breathing new life into a SON Freehand – an early pipe by Eric Nording


Blog by Steve Laug

When my brother Jeff saw this pipe he went for it. I am not sure if he bought it on one of his travels or on EBay but it is the kind of pipe that catches his attention. The grain on the bowl is a mix of flame, straight and swirled patterns. The stain on the bowl is dark from the top of the bowl down about ½ inch all around the bowl. It similar to other pipes from the 60s that had a bit of a flume finish on the top edges of the bowl. The plateau on the top of the rim and the end of the shank are blackened and the dark rough plateau in those spots works well with the reddish brown stain on the bowl. The pipe was dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top filling in much of the plateau top. The stem was dirty with some built up calcification on the tenon and around the rings on part way up the stem. This is visible in the photo below. The stem was heavily oxidized and was a brownish green colour. There was tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he did his cleanup. The next photo shows the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava and grime that filled in some of the ridges and grooves in the plateau.The grain on the bowl though dirty, showed promising patterns – straight grains and flame. There were also some swirls in the grain. The photos below show what the finish looked like and under the grime it looked good. There was a flaw in the grain on the right side of the bowl (shown in the second photo below). I have circled it in red. The stamping on the underside of the shank is very readable. It reads SON over DANMARK over the number 5. At this point I had no idea who the maker of the SON brand was. I would need to do a bit of research to figure out who the maker was. The style though was very 1960s era but I had no proof of that at the moment.Jeff took some photos of the insert stem showing the calcification on the tenon and in some of the rings on the vulcanite stem. The oxidation is also very visible in the vulcanite. You can also see the grime in the grooves of the plateau on the end of the shank.The photos of the stem show a lot of tooth chatter on both sides of the stems. There are also some tooth marks on the button top and bottom.I decided to do a bit of research on the brand to see who made the SON brand. I looked first on Pipephil’s site http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s10.html. I quote from a note on the site next to photos of the stamping on the pipes of that brand.

“The brand’s name stems from a partnership between Soren Skovbo and Erik Nording. It lasted for two years in the mid-1960s before the partnership ended and the brand ceased. That dates this pipe to the 1960s.”

I looked on Pipedia for further information: https://pipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%B8rding. In the listing of pipemakers by country the entry for SON linked back to Nording pipes. I went to that page and read the following information. I have included a portion of that article below that gives the pertinent connections.

Long before he graduated from engineering school at age 25 he was a more experienced pipe smoker than most men his age. He frequented a pipe shop in Copenhagen and often had his pipes repaired there. “The guy who did the repairs in that shop” says Nording. “could see that it was a good business, and he wanted to start his own pipe making shop.” That repairman’s name was Skovbo. One day he approached the young Erik Nording with a proposition. “You are a blacksmith and an engineer,” Skovbo said to Nording. “You must know a lot about machinery. Can you make me some pipe making machinery?”

“I told him I could make anything he wanted,” says Nording. “But I didn’t have any money. So I borrowed S200 to buy some bearings, and I scoured junkyards for old broken machinery. I bought inexpensive housings and put in new bearings and new shafts.” It was Nording’s first contract and he wanted to get a good start, so he took great care in making the best possible tools for the pipe maker. “I made him a little polishing machine, and a lathe, and a sander for shaping pipes.” When he had everything put together and running perfectly, he called Skovbo and told him his machinery was finished.

“He came out and looked it over,” says Nording. “He turned on the electricity and watched everything run. He had some blocks of wood with him, and he tried everything out. Finally he looked at me and said, ‘It’s exactly as I wanted. Perfect. How much do I owe you?’ I told him the price—I don’t remember how much it was, but it was very inexpensive.”

Skovbo thought the price was very good. “That’s fantastic,” he said. “The price is right. Now I’ll start out for myself, make some pipes and when I earn some money I’ll pay you.”

It must have been a terrifically discouraging moment for a young man who had just completed what he thought was his first paying job in a new career. As Erik Nording now remembers that moment, sitting in a beautiful home that contains a pipe making shop large enough for 20 workers making tens of thousands of world-famous pipes, his face exhibits amusement at that memory. But back then, as a youngster trying to get a foothold in the world, his expression must have been more akin to horror.

“I told him that was not good enough,” says Nording. “I told him I was a poor man, I didn’t have any money, I needed to be paid for my work.” But Skovbo told Nording that he couldn’t pay him.

“Then I will keep the machinery,” said Nording. “I’ll make pipes myself.”

“You don’t know how to use this machinery,” said Skovbo. “You know nothing of pipe making.”

“Well, you’re not getting it. You should have told me before I did all this work that you didn’t have the money to pay for it.”

Skovbo thought it over. “Why don’t we start together?” he said.

That’s how Erik Nording became a pipe maker.

There are still a few of those early pipes around. “I saw some at a shop I visited a while back,” says Nording. “The shop owner offered to give them to me as mementos but I refused. They may be worth quite a bit of money to collectors. You never know”…

Those first pipes carried the name SON”, which was an acronym for the combination of the names Skovbo and Nording. Each of the partners borrowed $5,500 to get the business going, to rent a space and get the electricity turned on and to buy two bags of briar. Skovbo taught Nording how to make pipes, “but I didn’t have much time because I was still studying,” says Nording. “And I never got the chance to learn much from him, because shortly after we started he said that I would never be a pipe maker, he said that my hands had no skill for the craft, that I could never learn. I never understood how he could make such a judgment, but he did.”

To his credit, Nording shows no sign of triumph in the fact that he has proved Skovbo wrong by becoming one of the best-known pipe makers in the world. “He said that he would continue with SON pipes alone, that he no longer needed me,” says Nording. However, the partners had a legal agreement that whoever wished to dissolve the partnership first would leave the company to the remaining partner and be paid off without interest over five years. So Nording became the one to keep the company…

…Nording continued with SON pipes for only a year or two before changing the company name to Nording in the mid-’60s. “I figured nobody could ever take that name away from me,” he says. Nording’s were exclusively freehand shapes, graded from A, B, C, D, up to its highest grade, extra. Later an “F” grade was added—less expensive than the “A.”

Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. 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. The tooth marks and chatter was clean but visible. I took the stem off and put it in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and totally forgot to take pictures of the pipe before I started.I did however; remember to take photos of the bowl to show its condition before I started my work on it. While the stem sat in the deoxidizer bath I worked on the bowl. I decided to start by addressing the flaw and the nick in the briar on the right side of the bowl. I wiped down the area around the damaged and flawed spot with cotton pad and alcohol. I filled in the flaw with clear super glue. Once it had cured I sanded the filled in area with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repair and blend it into the rest of the briar. I decided to scrub the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the briar with my finger working it into the plateau on the rim top and shank end. The product worked to lift the grime and debris out of the grooves of the briar. I rubbed it down and scrubbed it deeper into the grooves of the briar with a shoe brush. I polished the briar with a soft cloth to remove the balm from the briar. The photos below show what the pipe looked like after scrubbing the briar with the product. The balm helped to blend in the repaired area with the surrounding briar. The briar had a new life and the plateau on the rim top and shank end also looked alive. I set the bowl aside and turned back to the stem. I removed it from the soak in the Before & After Deoxidizer and wiped it down. I cleaned out the inside of the airway with alcohol to remove the product from the stem. I polished the stem with a soft cloth to remove all of the deoxidizer and give it a bit of a shine. It had removed much of the light oxidation though there were remnants in the rings and grooves above the tenon. There were still some spots of oxidation that needed to be addressed and the button needed to be reshaped on both sides to remove the tooth marks and chatter. The photos below show what it looked like at this point.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the tooth chatter and to reshape the edges and surface of the button.  I worked over the spots of oxidation on the flat portions and on the rings and grooves in the turned stem with the sandpaper at the same time to remove it from the surface of the hard rubber stem.I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the briar when I was buffing it so that the grooves of the rustication would not be filled in and make more work for me. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 1/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Diameter of the tapered chamber at the top of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

Pipe Hunting in the Portabello Market, London – Found a PNB Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

Over the years I had heard and read about the Portobello Road Market – the world’s largest antique market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible. On past trips to England I had not been able to take the time to go have a look. On the current trip it looked like I would have time and to top it off we had rented an Air BNB apartment within walking distance of the market. I looked up information about the market so I could be prepared. I want to know what to expect when I went walked to it on the weekend. But I have to tell you, all the preparation I did was not enough to prepare me for what the reality would be like once I turned the corner in the Nottinghill neighbourhood and came out on Portabello Road. The next two photos give you a bit of a feel for what I saw on that Saturday morning. The streets were crowded with people of every size, shape and ethnicity. There were booths lining both sides of the street. There were shops with a variety of wares to sell. I wandered up and down the street of the market looking at the booths and shops along sidewalks and street. As mentioned above, the market is known for its antique sellers and shops so I was hoping to find a few pipes in the windows and shop cases. I walked through several of the antique shops (really like our Canadian antique malls) looking quickly at the cases to identify the ones I would come back to and spend more time at. In one particular shop there was a small corner booth by the door that had display cases around the front and side of the spot. The cases were full or pipes and cheroot holders carved out of meerschaum. There were many old carved meerschaum pipes with shapes of animals and faces. There were some briar pipes as well with different stems – varying from amber to horn to rubber. This was a booth where I needed to take some time to go through the pipes.In the next two photos you can get a bit of an idea of how the pipes were displayed in the cases. They were really a jumble and it would take time to go through them. You can see meerschaum pipes with and without cases and stems. You can see oddly shaped bog oak pipes with amber stems and old pipes with metal shank and bowl caps. There were long pipes and shot pipes and many in between. The prices were surprisingly high so it would be a matter of narrowing the field down to one or two that I would add to my bag.I moved from the side case to the front of the booth to look through some of the pipes displayed there. These too were a jumble and mixed through displays of figurines, crucifixes and antique cutlery. There were even books on collectible meerschaums on display on top of the cases.I finally narrowed down the pipes I was interested in to the one below. It was a large billiard that was in fairly good condition. There was a light cake in the bowl, the rim top had some lava and the stem had tooth marks. The stem had a piece of paper wrapped around the threaded bone tenon to give it enough bite to hold onto the threads in the mortise. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank with the letters PNB or PBN in a circle with a star on the right and left, outside of the circle. It also had a thin oxidized brass/gold band on the shank end that would clean up nicely. The stem looked to be Bakelite or Amberoid and had some light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. I took the photos below when I returned to the apartment after the shopping adventure. The next photo shows the stamping on the left side of the shank. I cannot find any information on the brand either as PNB or PBN. I posted the logo on the Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society on Facebook and Mike Hagley had a suggestion that was a possibility. He said the pipe looks like a Belgian made pipe, so he suggested that PNB stands for Pipier Nationale Belgique. Another friend on the same GPSS group Neville van Niekerk from Germany wrote that the pipe was a Bernstein pipe from Vienna, Austria. He went on to say that they were originally Meerschaum pipe makers until the Turks decided that Meerschaum could not be exported in blocks any more. Thank you both for your suggestions.I wrapped the pipe in bubble wrap and put it in my suitcase until I returned to Vancouver three weeks later. I was looking forward to working on the pipe. When I got home I unwrapped the pipe and brought it to my work table. I took some photos of it to chronicle what it looked like before I started. The photos below show the pipe when I started. I took a close up photo of the bowl and the rim to show the cake and the rim darkening. The inner and outer edge of the rim was in good condition. There was some light scratching on the rim top and some darkening all around the inner edge but it would clean up nicely.The stem was in pretty good condition. There was some light tooth chatter on the button surface and a tooth mark on the right side of the top of the button. There was a deep tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button as well. I took another photo of the stamping on the shank and was able to get a clearer photo.I unscrewed the stem from the shank and the paper wrapping on the tenon came off easily. The band on the shank was also loose so it fell off as well.I wiped the outside of the bowl and shank down with 99% isopropyl alcohol on cotton pads. I wanted to remove any remnants of the finish and also the grime that was ground into the briar on the sides of the bowl and rim. The pipe has some beautiful grain – a mix of birdseye, cross and flame grain. I polished the brass band with micromesh sanding pads to remove the oxidation that had darkened it. The shine returned and it was a nice golden colour that would work really well with the amber coloured stem and virgin briar.With the band removed from the shank a flaw in the briar was revealed on the right side of shank near the shank end. I filled it in with clear super glue and when it dried sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and would later polish it with micromesh sanding pads to blend it in with the rest of the briar.I reamed the bowl back to bare briar with a PipNet pipe reamer and finished cleaning it up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife.I pressed the band on temporarily so that I could polish it in place while polishing the briar. I wet sanded the briar and band with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad after each pad. Each micromesh pad brought a deeper shine to briar and band. I removed the band and wiped the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the briar with my fingers, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then buffed it off with a soft cloth. It really brought the grain to life. I buffed it lightly with a shoe brush and a soft cloth. I wiped down the shank end with some alcohol on a cotton pad to clean it off so that I could reglue the band. I used a dental pick to put glue on the shank end and the inside of the band. I pressed it in place and lined it up. I held it until the glue set.Once the glue dried I decided to address the worn threads in the mortise. The threads on the old bone tenon would not hold onto the threads in the mortise. I painted the threads in both with clear fingernail polish and let them dry.Once the glue dried I decided to address the worn threads in the mortise. The threads on the old bone tenon would not hold onto the threads in the mortise. I painted the threads in both with clear fingernail polish and let them dry.When the fingernail polish had dried I worked on the tooth marks on the stem. I sanded the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and reshaped the button to remove the tooth marks.  I filled in the tooth marks with amber super glue. I purposely overfill the areas so that as the glue dries and shrinks it still fills in the dent. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure.Once the repairs had dried I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I cleaned up the threads a bit on the old bone tenon and turned it in place into the mortise. It fit snuggly and held tightly in the shank. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to shine and protect. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is quite a large pipe. The dimensions are, Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. I am pleased with the way the pipe turned out. Thanks for looking.

 

 

 

This Old Italian Canadian showed Promise


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked this heavily rusticated pipe up on one of his recent forays into the antique shops and malls of Montana. It is sea rock like rustication on the bowl and shank with a wire rustication on top of that. The finish was very dirty with a lot of dirt and grime in the deeper grooves of the rustication. There was a random stem stuck in the shank when he picked it up – I think it was just to make it more sellable. The stem is a round saddle stem while the shank is oval. The finish was dirty and there were some nicks in it around the shank end. The bowl had a heavy cake in it with some lava overflow filling in the rustication pattern on the rim top. There appeared to be some burn damage on the back left side of the rim top. The pipe had a smooth portion on the underside of the shank for stamping but the only stamping was at the shank/stem junction where it read ITALY. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. The rim top can be seen in the next photo. You can see the thick cake and the lava overflow on the top of the rim. It is hard to know if there is damage to the inner edge of the rim but the outer edge was clean and undamaged. It appeared that there was some burn damage on the back left side of the inner rim edge but we would not know until Jeff cleaned the pipe.Jeff took pictures of both sides of the bowl to show the rocky, craggy appearance of the finish on the bowl. It is unusual and interesting at the same time.The next photos show the shank and Italy stamping on the shank end. The stem is obviously the wrong one. You can see the variation of the round saddle portion of the stem and the oval shank. I am not too worried about the stem as it is going in the bin anyway as I will need to fit a new stem on the shank. Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe as it was a real mess on the rim and deep grit and grime in the grooves of the finish. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish actually looked quite good condition. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I did not bother with the old stem as it would be replaced. I went through my can of stems and found one that had the same diameter all the way around as the shank. The fit against the shank end was almost perfect. I would need to make the edges taper a bit more at the shank. The stem was new and still had castings on the sides and the end of the button. The tenon was a perfect fit in the mortise. I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the restemmed pipe. The pipe looks good with the new stem. There is promise in the appearance at this point. I repaired the chip on the left side of the shank end with clear super glue. I needed to rebuild that edge to remove the damaged area and allow the stem to fit snug against the shank. I used a sharp knife to bevel the edges of the mortise to accommodate the hip at the tenon/stem junction.I used a brass bristle wire brush on the rustication to clean off any remnants of the finish and then wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the dust. I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the briar. I repeated the process several times until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl. I set the bowl aside to dry overnight before proceeding with polishing the briar.In the morning I buffed the bowl with a shoe brush to raise a shine on the briar. I took the following photos to show what the pipe looked like at this point in the process. The bowl is looking good with a lot of colour variation due to the roughness of the rustication. I laid aside the finished bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the casting marks and scratches on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I opened up the slot in the button with needle files to make it easier to push a pipe cleaner through. After I had removed the casting marks and the scratches on the stem surface it was time to work on it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it down with a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. Each photo shows it progressively getting a shine. I set aside the stem and picked up the bowl once again. I used the Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar. I rubbed it into the grooves on the bowl sides with my fingers. I wanted it to go deep in the grooves to further test the effectiveness of the product. This would be a good test as it one of the roughest rustications that I have worked on with the product. As I have mentioned in previous blogs Mark had said that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. I figured this deep rustication would certainly put those claims to a test. He said that he had added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. Once I had all the grooves and surfaces of the bowl covered I wiped it down with a clean cotton pad and then buffed it with a shoe brush. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and lightly polish the briar. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and rubbed it into the rusticated finish. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The variegated finish on the bowl and stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The pipe really does look good with the new stem. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding to your collection. It is a beauty and will serve someone very well. Email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

Cleaning up a Pair of Goedewaagen Delft Ceramic Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

This pair of double walled ceramic pipes was originally white with a blue Delft style scene painted and cured into the ceramic on the front of both bowls. They both have a painting of a scene that is a famous picture from Troost Tobacco where one man is in the stocks and another, rather portly man is helping him smoke a pipe. There is no other stamping on either pipe. Both pipes have begun to develop a nice patina as the bowls darken from smoking them. The stem on the smaller of the two (photos 1-4) was a typical freehand stem like many I have seen and used in the past. The one on the larger calabash (photos 5-8) shaped one is like the stems on WDC Wellington’s – kind of a faux p-lip with the airway coming out the end of the button rather on the top like a Peterson. The smaller pipe had a rubber stopper in the end of the shank to hold the stem in place and the larger one had a crumbling cork stopper. Both pipes were very dirty with cake in the bowls and oxidation on the stem surfaces. The pipes were made by an old Dutch pipe making house called Goedewaagen. Here is the link to their website. Have a look at the history page on the site. It gives a detailed background on the Company that made the pipes. Even though the link is in Dutch it is worth translating with Google Translate. http://www.goedewaagen.nl/goedewaagen/. I have included the cutaway diagram of the double walled ceramic pipe to help give and idea of the concept and construction of the pipe.Both pipes came to me from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with RJ Clarke’s Pipe Shop after he died. I was asked to clean them up and sell them for the shop as it has since closed. I decided to work on them together as they will need the same kind of cleanup and restoration. The photos below show both pipes as they were when I brought them to my work table. I took photos of each of the bowls to show the cake lining the walls and the condition of the bowl and rim top. Both had a thick cake and the airway at the bottom of both bowls was half plugged making the airflow quite restricted.The paintings on both bowls were identical – a painting of a scene that is a famous picture from Troost Tobacco where one man is in the stocks and another, rather portly man is helping him smoke a pipe. As mentioned above both shanks used a stopper in the mortise to hold the stem in place. The smaller pipe used a rubber stopper and the calabash style pipe had a cork stopper. The rubber one was in good condition while the cork one was crumbling and pushed into the mortise. The photos below show the two stoppers.The stems were quite different in terms of condition. It appeared to me that the one on the smaller pipe was better quality vulcanite than the other one and it was barely oxidized. There was light tooth chatter on the stem. The stem on the calabash pipe was heavily oxidized and the tooth chatter and marks were heavier. I put both stems in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer bath to soak overnight. I knew that it would work well on the stem from the smaller pipe as it was less oxidized. The heavier oxidation on the calabash stem would be harder because the bath was getting less effective after soaking and cleaning 80-90 stems in it.I scraped out the cake in both bowls using the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I removed all of the cake and sanded the inside of the bowls with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the remnants. I used a dental pick to clean out the clogged airway at the bottom of each bowl.The rubber stopper on the smaller pipe was in good condition and still usable. The cork stopper was crumbling and I could hear pieces rattling in between the double walls of the ceramic pipe. I used a pen knife to clean out the pieces of cork. I cleaned both bowls under warm running water. I filled the space between the two walls of both pipe with hot water and shook it to loosen any residual tars or oils that had collected in those spots. I shook the water out and repeated the cleaning until the shanks and insides of both pipes were clean. I scrubbed the outside of the bowl and the inside of the bowl with hot water and a light detergent to remove the dirt on the glazed ceramic finish. While I was cleaning the bowls I remembered that I had inherited a bag of corks that were drilled or Le Peltier ceramic pipes. I took one out and was glad that it was the proper diameter for the calabash.  I dried out the shank and the bowl with paper towels and wetted the cork to cause it to swell. The fit in the mortise was perfect. I used a dental pick to carefully lift it out of the mortise and coated it with all-purpose glue. I pressed it in to the mortise until the surface of the end of the cork was the same distance from the outer edges as the rubber stopper on the other pipe. I set the bowl aside to let the glue dry before trying the stem on the pipe. I took photos of both bowls to show how clean they were at this point in the process. By this time the stems  had been soaking since the night before. I took them out of the bath and held them over the container to let the thick solution drip clean of the stems. When the majority had dripped clean I dried them off with a rough cotton cloth the wipe off as much of the oxidation on the rubber as possible in the drying process. I cleaned the airway on both stems with alcohol and pipe cleaners until the deoxidizer and the tars and oils in the stems was removed and they were clean. In retrospect I should have cleaned them before soaking them but hindsight is always better anyway. The stem with the lighter oxidation came out almost perfect. The other one was certainly better than before the soak.The stems looked good but more work would need to be done before the final black gleam was back. I buffed both stems with red Tripoli to remove the remaining oxidation. I sanded both stems with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter from both sides near the button. I did more work on the stem from the calabash to remove the heavier oxidation of the vulcanite and to reshape the button. Once I was finished with the sanding I buffed both stems again with the red Tripoli. After buffing them I polished them with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding them with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping them down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded them with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped them down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped them down a final time with the oil and set them aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I used a soft touch on the bowl as I did not want to damage the paintings on the bowl fronts of the ceramic polish in any way. I buffed stem hard to work over the remaining small scratches and minute oxidation that was still on the rubber of both stems. It took some work but they cleaned up nicely. I gave the bowls and the stems multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed them with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed the pipes with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The two double walled bowls with the Delft style painting on the front and the developing brown patina combined with the black vulcanite stems present a beautiful pair of pipes. I find these interesting double walled Goudewaagen ceramic pipes a pleasant change to the briar pipes that I normally work on. The finished pipes are shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the smaller brandy shaped pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The dimensions of the larger calabash pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Bowl diameter: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches.I will be adding both of these pipes to the rebornpipes store shortly. I already have several of these pipes so I will be passing these on to others to try. Thanks for looking.

Restoring an Edwards Hexagon Dublin Sitter 97


Blog by Steve Laug

I got an email a while back from a friend who wanted me to work over an old Edwards that he had picked up. He had bought one from me in the past and had now found another one. It was a Hexagonal Dublin that had carved grooves on the sides of the bowl from the rim down to the base. The shank is square sided and is smooth. It is stamped Edwards on the top side of the shank. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Algerian Briar followed by the shape number 97. He had found it in a local antique shop I think. It had a thick cake in the bowl and the lava flowed over the top of the rim and down to the second layer of the carving on the rim. The shank was dirty and also filled with tars. The stem was a heavily oxidized replacement stem with the entire underside of the button broken off. Because it was a replacement I decided to put another replacement stem on the shank. I pulled the stem off the shank and took photos of the bowl. The grooves in the carving were dirty and the natural finish was dirty and damaged. I forgot to put the stem back on the shank and take photos. I was intent on cleaning up the bowl. I scraped out the carbon cake in the bowl and off the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I carefully removed the lava from the rim of the bowl.I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the thick lava coat on the rim. I did not want to take off too much of the briar as it looks like an interesting stack of briar sheets from the top down.I scrubbed the bowl and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to get all of the grit and dust out of all of the grooves and edges of the briar stack. I rinsed the pipe with running water to rinse off the dust and the soap and scrubbed it under the running water to leave behind a clean bowl. I dried it off with a clean cloth. Then I remembered I had not taken photos of the pipe with the old stem in place so I slid the stem into the shank and took the next series of photos. Not only was the replacement stem badly oxidized it also had a large chip out of the button across the top side of the stem. It was poorly fit to the shank as well. You can see from the photos that it is larger in diameter than the shank itself. It was definitely going to be replaced. I put aside the damaged replacement stem and took a new square stem blank out of my box of stems. I turned the tenon on the PIMO tenon turning tool on my cordless drill to take down the tenon to fit the shank of the Edwards pipe. Once I had the tenon turned I wiped it down with a damp cloth and took a picture of the new stem next to the one I was replacing.I put the new stem on the shank to see how it fit against the shank end. I needed to do quite a bit of sanding on the sides of the stem to get the flow along the sides, top and bottom smooth and even.I cleaned out the internals of the pipe – the mortise and the airway in the shank using alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove all of the oils and tars that collect there. I cleaned out the airway in the new stem to remove the dust from turning tenon.I sanded the stem to reduce the size on all sides with 220 grit sandpaper. When I got close I put it on the shank and carefully sanded it until the transition between the shank and the stem was smooth. I sanded out the casting marks and scratches on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. There were quite a few scratches left behind by the work I did to fit it to the shank. Once I had the majority of deep scratches sanded out, it was time to work on it with micromesh sanding pads. I used the micromesh sanding pads to polish the stem. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it down with a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. In the last photo of the three below you can still see some light scratches in the vulcanite on the saddle part of the stem. These would need to be buffed out on the wheel. (I polished the tenon as well as can be seen in the photos below. Each photo shows it progressively getting a shine.) With the stem almost finished I took it off the shank and used the Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar. I rubbed it into the grooves on the bowl sides with my finger and a cotton swab. I wanted it to go deep in the grooves to further test the effectiveness of the product. This would be a good test as it is a totally different finish than any of the other pipes I have worked on with the product.  Mark had said that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. Once I had all the grooves and surfaces of the bowl covered I worked it into the finish with a cotton pad to see if it pulled out the dirt. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. So far the product seems to be delivering as promised. I will continue using it for a while and see how it works in a variety of settings before I give an opinion of the product. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I used a soft touch around the stamped areas as I did not want to flatten them or polish them away. I buffed stem hard to work over the remaining scratches in the rubber. It took some work but they are smoothed out. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and rubbed it into the sandblast and the plateau areas. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The interesting carved finish on the bowl with its natural oil finish and the new stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The pipe has been given a total makeover and the new stem fits the shape very well. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I think William is going to really like the new look and feel of this pipe. I have one more of his to finish up and then the pair will go back to him in the mail. Thanks for looking.