Tag Archives: fitting a stem

Restoring and Restemming a Savinelli Capri 915


Blog by Lee Neville

Over the past few months I have been continuing my correspondence with Lee via email. He picked up a couple of pipes for me at a local antique shop in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and sent them to me. We have fired emails back and forth on restoration questions and issues. He also included Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes in the conversations and we had a great time. Earlier this week he sent Charles and me an email about a restoration of another pipe that he restemmed. Charles and I spoke with him of the style and size of stem to use. He did a great job on the restemming and the description of the work so I asked him if I could post it on rebornpipes. He was glad to have me do so. Thanks Lee for your work and this second write up. It is great to have you on rebornpipes as a contributor once again! – Steve

Thought I would share my pipe rehabilitation effort of a Savinelli Capri 915.  It showed up in the Winnipeg Ebay lot as a dirty stummel with a snapped-off stem tenon wedged into its shank. Alas, the original stem was not included in the lot.

This is a “Birks” pipe – Henry Birks & Sons, or what it’s now known by these days – “Maison Birks”, is a Montreal-based jewellery/glassware/fine leather goods/timepieces/ silver & gold flatware / object d’art firm in business here in Canada since the late 1800s.  It appears Birks would commission pipes from manufacturers and stamp them with their house name and offer them for sale during special promotions – Christmas, Father’s Day etc.  This Savinelli is the first of two “Birks” pipes I’ve got on my bench to restore.The plan is to clean this stummel up to the natural briar,  treat it to a wax protective finish and fit a replacement stem.  This will be fun as I just received the PIMO stem tenon cutter tool which will make short work of fitting a properly sized tenon on a replacement stem blank.

Stummel clean up
The bowl was in good shape. The rim showed minor discolouration from lighting.  The rim was not obscured by any lava. The previous owner was not a dottle-knocker – luckily no dents or chips on the bowl rim.  I reamed the bowl out with my newly arrived Pipnet set – I started with the smallest head, applying light twisting force and allowing the tool to make its way into the bowl.  This was repeated by the following two larger reaming heads to remove existing cake close to briar.  This was followed by twists with a dowel covered with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the remaining cake, then more twists with 320 / 400 grits to finish the bowl interior smooth. There are no cracks or burnouts in the bowl. The shank cleaned up with a few runs of alcohol-soaked pipe cleaners and q-tips.

I attacked the stummel with a soft toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the rim discolouration and surface dirt/grease. The accumulated grunge lifted right off after two scrubbing sessions.  I was delighted to see the proprietary sandblasting/rustication is scarcely worn – the deep relief is quite attractive.

The stummel was then covered with masking tape. I clamped the padded stummel in my dremel vise and using a drill bit sized just over the ID of the snapped off stem tenon, ran it in a smidge gently, then reversed the drill and the tenon remnant came out with the drill bit.  This revealed a very fine crack in the mortise end of the stummel.  Using thin CA glue, I lightly dabbed the crack, watching it wick into the crack, then sprayed accelerant to instantly set the glue.  I lightly sanded the mortise face and mortise with 1000 grit paper to ensure any glue squeeze-out was removed before attempting to fit replacement stem

Fitting a new stem
I viewed the Savinelli web site to glean pipe proportions (stummel to stem) as well as canvassing yourselves for your thoughts on replacement stem length. I also found a high-definition image of a Capri 915 online.  Applying some ‘Edmonton Windage’, I ordered an oval tapered stem blank in a 2.25″ length from Vermont Freehand Pipes.

The stem blank on arrival was a bit wider than the stummel shank, so there was some filing and final sanding required to match the stem to the shank profile.

I mounted the replacement stem into the vise and drilled the stem draught hole to accept the guide rod of the PIMO stem tenon cutting tool.  I then mounted the PIMO stem tenon cutting tool and gently took a succession of cuts to arrive with a couple of thou of tenon final size.  I used a strip of 320 grit sandpaper to work the circumference of the tenon to a snug fit into the stummel mortise.  I used a variety of tools to flatten the stem tenon face so it would meet up with stummel mortise surface properly – needle files, sandpaper, a few licks with a very small chisel – all under a magnifier lens working the stem mating surface – testing fit/working it/test fit/working it until I got the proper fit.

Rough file work was then required to narrow the stem.  This took about an hour.  I then worked in the round with a file to shape the circumference of the stem to match the stummel profile. Last steps were using 220 sandpaper to work the circumference down as close to the final dimension. I followed that with 400 and 600 grit sandpaper.  I was now a scant hairs-width proud on the stem.  I then replaced the masking tape covering the stummel shank with clear scotch tape and brought the stem into line with the shank profile with 1500 and 1800 micro mesh pads.I filed the stem button into shape and from that point on, it was just applying a succession of micro mesh pads to 12000 to polish the replacement stem. Here is the clean stummel and new stem before finishing.Finishing the Pipe 
I treated the stummel to a coat of Howards Feed and Wax (beeswax, carnauba and citrus oils), let it sit for 30 minutes, then wiped off the excess, followed with a thin coating of carnauba wax over the whole pipe and a rub in with a polishing brush.  Using a cotton buff on my Dremel at 4000 rpm, I ran the buff over the entire pipe to bring out the shine. This pipe cleaned up very nicely and is a joy to hold.  I had fun fitting a new stem that is in proportion to the stummel and I think it’s a close resemblance to the stem originally fitted to the pipe.

Thank you Charles and Steve for your help on stem selection.

Onward and upwards!

Lee 

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The first from a collection of Bertrams – a Bertram ¾ Bent Billiard 60


Blog by Steve Laug

Once in a while I get emails through the blog about pipes that someone wants to sell. These can be estates or they can be a collection that an older pipeman has decided to get rid of by passing it on to someone who can work on them and see that they get into the hands of another pipe smoker. In this case I received an email from a fellow who wanted to sell me a collection of Bertram pipes. We met over FaceTime and he showed the pipe collection to both Jeff and me. We discussed their condition and arrived at a price for the pipes. The majority of the pipes in the collection were Bertrams but there were also some other brands that were known to me. We struck a deal on the lot and he shipped them to Jeff. Jeff took some photos of the collection when it arrived in Idaho. He unwrapped each pipe and filled the three boxes that they were mailed in, and then took a photo to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.Jeff chose a group of pipes from the collection and began his work on them He sent me a box with some of the pipes he had cleaned up. I chose one of the Bertrams from the lot to be the first pipe I would work on. The smooth finish was dirty but the grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. It had a thick shank and a bent tapered stem. There was a cake in the bowl and some lava overflowing on to the rim top. The stem showed some wear on the button edge and tooth marks and chatter in the top and underside. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of this interesting pipe. Jeff took 2 close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some thick lava overflow and made it hard to know what the inner edge looked like under the grime and lava. He also took photos of the right and left side of the bowl and shank to show the interesting grain on the bowl and the heel. The finish is very dirty but this is another interesting pipe.Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the left side of the shank. The photo shows stamping which read Bertram over Washington, DC. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the double stamped number 60 showing the quality of the pipe. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There are also some nicks on the outer edge of the button. The stem is lightly oxidized and scratched.If you don’t know much about them I recommend doing a little research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop.

From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 70s. I also learned that it was a grade 60 thus it was on the higher end of the spectrum just above mid-grade. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show its condition. It was in great condition with a little burn damage to the front inner edge of the rim. Otherwise both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look really good. The stem photos show the light tooth marks and the damage to the button surface on both sides.I cleaned up the inner edge of the rim to address the burn damage to the front inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and to bring the bowl back into round.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point and the grain stands out beautifully. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. There was a deep nick on the top of the stem near the shank end. I filled it with clear super glue and set it aside to dry. Once it had cured I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the repair, the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth and took the following photos. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. The polished briar came alive with buffing and the straight, swirled and birdseye grain just popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a thick shank bent billiard that really is a comfortable handful of briar. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting this one on the rebornpipes store sometime in the days ahead. If you are looking for a chunky billiard with a bent tapered stem this one might be for you. Let me know if you are interested. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this with me it was a pleasure to work on.

 

Sprucing up another WDC: A Cased Bakelite & Briar Dublin


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

There a quite a few WDCs that I have inherited from my old man and the one on my table now is “WDC BAKELITE” in its original case. I loved the deep red color of the Bakelite shank and the fiery transparent red of the stem. Thus, no surprise here that I chose to work on this WDC Bakelite Dublin shaped pipe!!

This is the third WDC from my grandfather’s collection, WDC Bakelite in an impressive Dublin shape. The dark brown briar bowl, Bakelite base and translucent Bakelite stem looks attractive. The gold filigree at the shank end adds a classy bling, breaking the red monotony of the stem and shank.  I dare say that this pipe does not boast of only beautiful bird’s eye or cross or straight grains but nevertheless distinct swirls of grains can be seen which are eye-catching to say the least!!  The shank and stem is devoid of any stamping, however, the only stamping to identify this pipe to be a WDC is seen on the top lid of the leather covered case. The case is internally lined with a soft silky felt cloth in light green color and bears the trademark inverted equilateral triangle in red with letters “WDC” over “BAKELITE” in gold. Gold ribbons flow from either sides of the triangle and bears the words “FRENCH” on the left ribbon and “BRIAR” on the right. The quality of the case, its felt lining and the stamping simply shouts QUALITY!! I searched pipedia.com for more information on this pipe and attempt at estimating the vintage of this pipe. Though I could not find any information about this pipe in particular or a connection between WDC and Bakelite material, here is what I have found on pipedia.org about the brand:

William Demuth. (Wilhelm C. Demuth, 1835-1911), a native of Germany, entered the United States at the age of 16 as a penniless immigrant. After a series of odd jobs he found work as a clerk in the import business of a tobacco tradesman in New York City. In 1862 William established his own company. The William Demuth Company specialized in pipes, smoker’s requisites, cigar-store figures, canes and other carved objects.

The Demuth Company is probably well known for the famous trademark, WDC in an inverted equilateral triangle. William commissioned the figurative meerschaum Presidential series, 29 precision-carved likenesses of John Adams, the second president of the United States (1797-1801) to Herbert Hoover, the 30th president (1929-1933), and “Columbus Landing in America,” a 32-inch-long centennial meerschaum masterpiece that took two years to complete and was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

The Presidential series was the result of Demuth’s friendship with President James A. Garfield, a connoisseur of meerschaum pipes. Demuth presented two pipes to Garfield at his inauguration in 1881, one in his likeness, the other in the likeness of the President’s wife. Later, Demuth arranged for another figurative matching the others to be added to the collection as each new president acceded to the White House, terminating with President Hoover.

In early 1937, the City of New York notified S.M. Frank & Co. of their intent to take by eminent domain, part of the land on which the companies pipe factory was located. This was being done to widen two of the adjacent streets. As a result of this, Frank entered into negotiations to purchase the Wm. Demuth Co.’s pipe factory in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. It was agreed upon that Demuth would become a subsidiary of S.M. Frank and all pipe production of the two companies would be moved to DeMuth factory. New Corporate offices were located at 133 Fifth Avenue, NYC.

Demuth pipes continued to be made at the Richmond Hill plant till December 31. 1972. Then the Wm. Demuth Company met its official end as a subsidiary company by liquidation.

I came across an interesting catalog on the same page on pipedia.org which shows the exact same pipe that I am now working on. It is the same pipe as the first pipe on the left in second row. A close scrutiny of the picture confirms the following:

(a) Bakelite material was being newly introduced by WDC as WDC Bakelite line. This can be inferred from the Note on the flyer “BAKELITE IS A NEW PATENT COMPOSITION……….NOT BURN”.

(b) The pipe before me is model number 24718 and was at the time their second most expensive of all the pipes advertised in the flyer, retailing at $8!!

(c) The catalog was published by “John V Farwell Company, Chicago”. John V. Farwell & Co. was a department store in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The store’s history traces back to 1836, when the Wadsworth brothers came to Chicago to sell goods. John V. Farwell & Co. was the most successful store in the city until the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. The store continued to operate after the fire, but faced stiff competition from former partners Marshall Field and Levi Leiter. It was purchased by Carson, Pirie & Co. in 1926. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_V._Farwell_%26_Co.) I visited rebornpipes.com and came across an interesting article on materials used in pipe making (https://rebornpipes.com/2014/08/09/hard-rubber-and-other-early-plastic-used-in-pipes-ronald-j-de-haan/)

It is here that I found the following information on “BAKELITE”:

These qualities made Bakelite the most successful synthetic material in the first half of the 20th century. From 1928 it was also produced as molded resin. Both the pressed and the molded forms were suitable for the pipe making industry. Pipes were made from Bakelite and molded phenol-resin. Complete pipes of Bakelite are very rare because of its lack of heat resistance. Phenol-resin however was frequently used for pipe mouthpieces and cigarette holders because it imitated amber.

From the above gleaned information, it is safe to conclude that the pipe now on my worktable is of 1920s and early 1930 vintage and at that point in time was WDC’s new offering retailing at $ 8!!

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The leather covered case in which the pipe was safely ensconced for many years has borne the maximum brunt of uncared for storage. The leather has weathered while being exposed to the extreme climate and has cracked at a number of places. However, the hinges and the lock mechanisms are intact and function smoothly. I shall just be giving a nice wipe with a moist cloth and applying a neutral shoe polish coat which is rich in wax content. The lining within has stained near the bowl/ Bakelite base joint and near the rim top. This needs to be cleaned up. Age definitely shows on the stummel surface!! The briar is dull and lifeless and has taken on a layer of aged patina, through which one can make out the beautiful grain patterns all around. There is a heavy overflow of lava all over the entire stummel surface. The bowl is covered in oils, tars and grime accumulated over the years of storage and is sticky to the touch. To be honest, the stummel is filthy to say the least. A thorough cleaning of the stummel followed by polish should accentuate the beautiful mixed grain pattern seen on the stummel through all the dirt. The Bakelite base of the stummel is dirty and sticky. Few scratches are also seen on close observation. The bowl (‘Real Walnut Bowl’ as specified in the flyer above!!) screws-in directly on to the Bakelite base. There is no brass or any metal separator between the bowl and the base, which is surprising. The threads on the bowl and the Bakelite base are covered in oils, tars and gunk. The bowl has one small hole at the heel through which the smoke passes in to the shank. The heel of the Bakelite base shows traces of old oils and tars. This will need a thorough cleaning.There is heavy buildup of cake with a thick layer in the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be ascertained only after the cake has been removed completely and taken down to bare briar. The bowl however, feels robust and solid to the touch from the outside. The rim top has a thick layer of overflowing lava. The condition of the smooth rounded inner and outer edge and rim top can be commented upon once the overflow of lava is removed and the chamber is reamed. The shank end of the pipe is clean. These issues should be a breeze to address, unless some hidden gremlins present themselves!!The diamond Bakelite stem has a rounded orifice which also points to its vintage. It is a rich reddish color that is translucent and the light really plays through. I cannot wait to see the stem clean up. Deep tooth indentations and minor tooth chatter is seen on the upper and lower surface. The pointed corner edge of the lip on the left is broken and will either have to be reconstructed or filed away to a straight profile. The lip edges have also been chewed off and greatly deformed. The screw-in tenon appears to be a Delrin tenon (or is it bone?) and is covered with dried oils and tars. The fit of the stem in to the mortise is very loose and the alignment is overturned. This will be a first for me as I have corrected metal threaded stingers, but never a Delrin or bone. The mortise does show signs of accumulated dried oils, tars and remnants of ash, greatly restricting the air flow. As I was dismantling the pipe, the gold filigree band also separated from the diamond squared Bakelite shank.The overall condition of the pipe, with the thick build-up of cake in the chamber, clogged mortises, overflowing of lava covering the entire stummel and the deep bite marks to the stem makes me believe that this would have been one of my grandfather’s favorite pipes.

THE PROCESS
As is always the case, I prefer to start my restoration with part that has the most significant damage. In this case it was the stem. I first cleaned out the internals of the airway with pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. This was followed by cleaning the surface and the deep tooth marks with cotton pads dipped in alcohol. This helps to remove all the dirt, oils and grime from the surface before proceeding with fills. Since the tooth indentations are deep, I shall resort to the layering technique for the fills. Having cleaned the bite marks and the stem surface, I fill these with clear superglue and set it aside to dry. The fills had shrunk once the glue had cured, exposing the damage. I gave a second layer of superglue fill and set it aside to cure. I had decided to address the issue of broken corner of the lip edge by reconstructing it afresh using superglue (God, why can’t I simply straighten the edges which would have been way simpler than reconstructing the concave shaped lip edges!!). I went about this task by placing a big drop of superglue and holding the stem such that a droplet was formed at the broken edge. Once this was done, it was all about twisting, turning and blowing so that the droplet does not fall to the ground while remaining at the broken edge. After the droplet has hardened, I repeated the process till I had more than enough well cured and hardened large edge which then could be filed and shaped as required.While the stem fills were curing, I addressed the thick cake in the chamber. I started by reaming the chamber with size 2 and followed it up with size 3 and 4 head of PipNet reamer. I used a 220 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber of the pipe. 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 from the chamber. The walls of the chamber are nice and solid with no signs of heat fissures or cracks. I scrapped out the overflowing lava from the rim top with my fabricated knife. The inner and outer rim edges are pristine and that was a big relief.I cleaned the threads and the heel of the Bakelite base with cotton and alcohol. This was followed by cleaning the mortise and air way of the pipe using hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners, q-tips dipped in alcohol. The mortise and the draught hole were given a final clean with shank brushes dipped in alcohol. I dried the mortise with a rolled paper napkin. The shank internals and the draught hole are now nice and clean with an open and full draw.Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and brass wire brush, I scrubbed the stummel, cleaning the surface thoroughly. I was very deliberate on the surface areas which were covered in overflowed lava over which dirt and grime had accumulated over the years. I rinsed the stummel under tap water, taking care that water does not enter the mortise or the chamber. I dried the stummel using cotton cloth and paper napkins. On close inspection, I observed a couple of minor dents and ding on the front portion of the stummel. These would need to be addressed. I also cleaned and removed the entire accumulated and now moistened gunk from the threads and base if the bowl with my fabricated dental spatula and the brass wired brush. The stummel is now clean and devoid of any grime and dirt. It is really surprising that the rim top, round edges and the stummel is in such pristine condition after so many years of storage and without a single fill. Speaks volumes about the quality of this line of pipes from WDC!! To further clean and highlight the grains, I sand the stummel with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper followed by 600 grit sand paper. For a deeper shine and to remove the scratches left behind by the coarse grit papers, I followed it up by sanding with the micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stummel after each wet pad with a moist cloth to remove the resulting dust. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. The pipe now looks lovely with beautiful grains showing off their beauty in all glory!! While the bowl was absorbing the balm, I worked the Bakelite base. I cleaned the surface with a cotton pad dipped in acetone and with horror I realized that I could see some swirls like marks on the shank. This got me worried and I immediately conferred with Mr. Steve, my mentor. He informed me that the Bakelite needs to be cleaned only with soap water!! Ah, well, what’s done is done. He suggested that I use the balm and see if it helps and it did but not to the full extent. I bashed on regardless, going through the complete micromesh pad cycle. It was then that I realized that the so called spots were from within and not external! Whew, what a relief. The Bakelite base looks absolutely stunning with a deep red color. With the bowl and Bakelite base now nice and clean and attractive, I worked the stem of the WDC.  Just to let the readers know, that all the while that I was working the bowl and base, I was simultaneously adding layers of superglue to the tooth indentations and chatter and the broken corner edge of the lip. Once I was satisfied with the thickness of the fill (I prefer over filling which can be evened out during sanding), I began by sanding the fills with a flat heat needle to achieve a rough match with the surrounding stem surface. I sharpened the lip edges using a needle file and sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper to perfectly blend the filled surface with the rest of the stem surface. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. By mere sanding itself, the minor tooth marks seen on stem surfaces were completely addressed. I was especially careful while shaping the broken corner edge of the lip. Finally, after long hours at the table, I was able to achieve a satisfactory reconstruction of the lip along with the proper concave around the orifice. To bring a deep shine to the Bakelite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The only part begging for attention was also the most attractive and costly item on this pipe; the gold filigree band!! This band was easily detached from the shank end and this made the cleaning job very easy. I use Colgate tooth powder to clean all the silver and gold bands and embellishments on pipes, a trick I learned from Abha, my wife. Some readers may find it surprising, but believe you me gentlemen, please at least give a try to see if it suits you. The band cleaned up nicely. I carefully applied a very small quantity of superglue along the shank end edges and stuck the band firmly over the shank end.Before moving on to polishing and buffing, the only issue that remained to be addressed was that of the overturned tenon. I discussed with Mr. Steve who suggested that I should try using clear nail polish coat over the threaded tenon and once the nail polish had completely dried, I should try the fit. I did just that and, viola!! The fit and alignment of the stem and shank was perfect!!

To finish, I re-assembled the entire pipe. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my local machine which is similar to a Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and polished the entire pipe with White Diamond compound. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the bowl, Bakelite base and the Bakelite stem. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe, with the dark brown hues of the grains on the bowl contrasting with the shining deep red Bakelite base and the translucent Bakelite stem, looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs speak for themselves. The leather covered case was cleaned and polished with wax rich neutral shoe polish. If only the pipe could tell some of my grand Old man’s stories and recount incidents witnessed while being smoked.…………… Cheers!! I am grateful to all the readers for their valuable time spent in reading this write up and joining me on this part of the journey in to the world of pipe restoration while I attempt to preserve a heritage and past memories which eternally shall remain a part of me. 

Restoring the 3rd of Jennifer’s Dad’s Pipes – A 1960 Dunhill Tanshell 589 Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

Time to get back to Jennifer’s Dad’s pipes. The next pipe on the worktable is from the estate of George Rex Leghorn. You may not have read this so I will retell the story. I received an email from Jennifer who is a little older than my 64+ years about whether I would be interested in her Dad’s pipes. My brother Jeff and I have been picking up a few estates here and there, so I was interested. Here is the catch – she did not want to sell them to me but to give them to me to clean up, restore and resell. The only requirement she had was that we give a portion of the sales of the pipes to a charity serving women and children. We talked about the organization I work for that deals with trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and their children and she decided that would be a great way to carry on the charitable aspect of her Dad’s character. With some great conversation back and forth she sent the pipes to Jeff and he started the cleanup process on them. Once he had finished cleaning them all he sent them to me to do my work on them.

The third pipe I chose to work on from the lot was another craggy looking Dunhill. This one was a Tanshell Zulu shaped pipe. It had a beautiful sandblast on the bowl sides and shank. It had the Dunhill Tanshell rich tan brown stain but it was dirty and hard to see the colour well. The stem was badly oxidized with tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. The transition to the button was worn to almost an angle. There was a thick cake in the bowl and it had overflowed with lava was dirty and tired looking. It had been sitting in boxes for a lot of years and it was time to move ahead with the restoration. Jennifer took photos of the pipes she was sending. I have included three she included from this pipe. When the box arrived from Jennifer, Jeff opened it and took photos of each pipe before he started his cleanup work on them. This rugged looking Dunhill Zulu appeared to be in good condition underneath the grime and oxidation on the bowl and stem. The finish looked intact under the grime. The bowl had a thick cake that had hardened with time. The lava overflow on the rim could very well have protected the rim from damage. We won’t know what is under it until Jeff had cleaned it off. It had a Sterling Silver band on the shank that probably was a repair band to deal with a crack in the shank. The stem was worn looking with a lot of deep oxidation and some tooth chatter and deep bite marks on both sides at the button. As mentioned above the button was worn. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage.The sandblast grain around the bowl sides and heel was quite beautiful. Lots of interesting patterns in the blast that would clean up very nicely. It was a beautiful pipe.Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable. It read 589 on the heel of the bowl – the shape number which is a bit of a mystery as I cannot find that number. That was followed by Dunhill over Tanshell. Next to that it read Made in England with a superscript 0 after the D making this a 1960 pipe. I am guessing that there may have been a circle 4 followed by a T which gave the size of the pipe and the fact that it is a Tanshell Briar but it is covered by a sterling silver band.Jeff took photos of the stem – first the White Spot on the top side of stem and then the top and underside of the stem at the button. You can see the tooth damage to the stem surface and the wear to the edge and top of the button. I am once again including the tribute that Jennifer consented to her Dad for the blog. She is also sent some photos of her Dad and her step mom. Note the pipe in his hand in both photos. She also included some things that her Dad wrote for Jeff and me to be able to get a feel for him. In the meantime I asked her to also send me an email with a brief tribute that I can use until then. Here is her email to me.

Steve, I want to thank you again for accepting my dad’s pipes.  They were so much a part of my dad’s life that I could not simply discard them. But as his daughter, I was not about to take up smoking them either. *laughing* I think my dad would like knowing that they will bring pleasure to others.  I know that I do.

I’m not sure what to say about his pipes. I always remember Daddy smoking pipes and cigars.

First a bit about my dad. Though my father, George Rex Leghorn, was American (growing up in Alaska), he managed to join the Canadian Army at the beginning of WWII, but in doing so lost his American citizenship.  He was fortunate to meet a Canadian recruiting officer who told him the alphabet began with “A” and ended with “Zed” not “Zee”, and also told him to say that he was born in a specific town that had all its records destroyed in a fire.  When the US joined the war my dad, and thousands of other Americans who had made the same choice*(see the link below for the article), were given the opportunity to transfer to the US military, and regain their citizenship.

After WWII, my dad, earned his degree at the University of California Berkeley and became a metallurgist. There is even a bit about him on the internet.

He loved taking the family out for a drive, and he smoked his cigars on those trips. (As a child, those were troubling times for my stomach.)

I most remember my father relaxing in his favorite chair with a science fiction book in one hand and a pipe in the other… Sir Walter Raleigh being his favorite tobacco… and the pipes themselves remind me of him in that contented way.  If I interrupted his repose, he’d look up, with a smile on his face, to answer me.

It seemed he smoked his Briarwood pipes the most, though he had others.  At the time, it was only the Briarwood I knew by name because of its distinctive rough shaped bowl.  And it was the Anderson Free Hand Burl Briar, made in Israel, which I chose for his birthday one year, because I thought he might like that particular texture in his hand.

At least two of his pipes, he inherited from his son-in-law, Joe Marino, a retired medical laboratory researcher (my sister Lesley’s late husband)… the long stemmed Jarl (made in Denmark), and the large, white-bowled, Sherlock Holmes style pipe.  I believe Joe had others that went to my dad, but Lesley was only sure about those two.

The Buescher, corncob pipe my older sister Lesley bought for Daddy while on one of her travels around the States.

A note on the spelling of my sister’s name… My dad met my mother, Regina, during WWII and they married in Omagh, Ireland.  My mother was English and in the military herself.  The English spelling of Lesley is feminine, and Leslie masculine, in the UK… just the opposite of here in the United States.  I guess my mom won out when it came to the spelling of the name.

I’ll send you photos of my dad soon, along with his WWII experience story.

Jennifer

*https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/10/22/the_americans_who_died_for_canada_in_wwii.html

Once again Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The sandblast was rugged and beautiful. There was still some darkening and burn marks on the rim top and also a dark spot on the heel of the bowl. There were some white paint flecks in the grooves of the briar. The band on the shank was rough on the stem edge. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top but remaining darkening and burn damage. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter in front of the button on both sides. I also took a photo of the stamping on the pipe – to capture the stamp in one photo. It read as noted above. The next photo shows some of the damage to the band on the left side of the photo. There is also a small crack on the bottom part of the shank that can be seen in the photo above.To clean up the paint specks on the blast and to work on the darkening on the rim top I used two different brass bristle brushes that I use at time like this – a coarse one and a fine one and isopropyl alcohol. I also worked over the dark spot on the heel of the bowl. I was worried that it might be a potential burn through but the briar was solid both inside and outside the bowl. It looked as if the pipe may have been set down in an ashtray and bumped against a burning cigar or cigarette. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it deep into the sandblast finish with a horsehair shoe brush. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of the blast really stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point. I am very happy with the results. The band was loose so I took it off and cleaned up the rough edge on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I smoothed out the edge with a flat blade screw driver. Once I had it reshaped I glued it in place on the shank.This is when I should have called it a night and stopped working on the pipe. But I didn’t and fiddled with the fit of the stem against the band. All was going really well and the fit was better than it looked in the photos above. I was getting excited about the pipe starting to look pretty good. I slowly turned the stem to remove it and there was a sickening pop! If you have worked on pipes long enough you know that sound and the sinking feeling that you get when it happens. The tenon snapped off tight against the stem and was stuck in the shank. After my initial sick feeling and a response of wanting to chuck the pipe across the room I settled down and started to look at what I had done! I used a screw to pull the broken tenon out of the shank and took a photo of the damages. Now I needed to replace the tenon! Frustration galore.I flattened the tag end of the broken tenon on the stem with my Dremel and sanding drum, being careful to not make more work for myself in the process. I took out my cordless drill and got started drilling out the end of the stem for a new tenon. I started with a bit slightly larger than the airway and worked my way up to the size of the insert.I used the Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of both ends of the tenon – the insert end to fit the stem and the mortise end to fit the mortise. It was slow going but worked well. I used a slow drying super glue to anchor the tenon in the stem and checked the fit in the shank. It was as close as I was going to get it so I set it aside to dry.Once the new tenon was set I turned to address the multiple tooth marks on the stem surface of both sides. Surprising the button surface itself was ok and free of tooth marks (I would also need to build up the slot and button edges but I would get to that soon enough). I called it a night and set the stem aside while I went to sleep.In the morning the repair had cured and I used a needle file to smooth out the repaired spots and also reshape the sharp edge of the button. I sanded the repairs and the rest of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the fills in and to remove some of the oxidation. I followed that by sanding with 400 grit sandpaper to start the polishing process. Now I needed to address the damage to the slot and the button. The slot was too far to the left side of the stem and looked like there was missing material on that side of the button. I used a needle file to open the slot to the right side and then built up the left edge of the button with super glue and charcoal powder. It took a process of layering until I go the flow and shape just right. I shaped it with files and sandpaper until the shape worked for me. I shaped the button and polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The Tanshell sandblast finish on this briar is quite beautiful and the shine on it makes the variations of colour really pop. The pipe polished up really well. The wax and the contrasting stain on the bowl made the grain just pop on the briar. The polished black vulcanite seemed to truly come alive with the buffing. The pipe feels great in my hand and when it warms with smoking I think it will be about perfect. Even though it is far from flawless there is still a lot of life left in this old timer. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. If you want to carry on the pipe trust of George Leghorn let me know. Thank you Jennifer for trusting us with his pipes. 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.

Restoring a Native American Hand Carved from Italy – the ‘Chief of Pipes’


Blog by Dal Stanton

One of the great things about restoring pipes and making them available to pipe men and women world-wide is that I have met very interesting people as they commission pipes and I correspond with them.  Toby is a returning customer from Germany.  He previously commissioned two Churchwarden creation projects where he intended one as a gift for his friend and the other was for himself.  I had fun with the write up, “A Tale of Three Churchwardens”, where I spun a story weaving in folklore, J.R. R. Tolkien and of course, a bit of Middle Earth and Gandalf.  Two of the three Churchwardens went to Toby and after he gifted his friend with his Churchwarden, Toby sent me a selfie of him and his friend blowing inspired smoke rings, each nursing a bowl in their Churchwardens together!  I’ve learned that Toby is a great guy and loves to gift people with special gifts!  That was not the last I heard from Toby.  He desired to find another gift.  Here is his note:

Hey Dal!
Having been so happy with your work I would like to commission the bearded sailor pipe for my future brother-in-law from New Zealand and I think it will be a nice fit. He is getting married in July of next year, do you think that would be possible?
Blessings,
Toby

Unfortunately, the pipe he saw in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection had just been commissioned and I hadn’t had time to mark it as such on the website.  Toby had a good eye for an interesting pipe, which I just restored and published not long ago, A Carved Bearded Sailor – Ole Crusty – also intended as a gift! I’m glad that Toby continued to look for an alternative that would meet his desires to be a special wedding gift for his brother-in-law.  Another email came and Toby had chosen the Indian Chief as an alternative and called it the “Chief of Pipes”!  This worked for me and ‘Chief’ went into the queue with a tag reminder of the wedding coming in July.  Here are pictures of ‘Chief’ acquired from the original eBay seller now on my worktable: The pipe was advertised as having never been smoked and this was an accurate assessment.  The interesting thing about this carved Native American Chieftain pipe is that it was crafted in Italy.  I take a picture of the nomenclature located on the left side of the squat shank and the lettering is juxtaposed to wrap around the shank.  The stamping is ‘HAND CARVED’ [over] ‘IMPORTED BRIAR’ [over] ‘ITALY’.  There are no other identifying marks on the pipe that I can see.  As is the case here in Bulgaria, the native North American (in both Canada and the United States) population first called ‘Indians’ from mistaken European explorers, are seen somewhat as an exotic people.  Certainly, Hollywood’s depictions of the ‘Cowboys & Indians’ movie genre has contributed to this.  Yet, somewhere in Italy, a pipe maker and a carver (or it could be one person!) decided to craft a unique pipe with the full native American headdress which were always full of  great symbolism and meaning for those who wore them in different tribes.

I was fascinated by the information I found in this article from Wikipedia about the War Bonnet:

Muscogee war bonnet Wolfgang Sauber – Own work

War bonnets (also called warbonnets or headdresses) are feathered headgear traditionally worn by male leaders of the American Plains Indians Nations who have earned a place of great respect in their tribe. Originally they were sometimes worn into battle, but they are now primarily used for ceremonial occasions. In the Native American and First Nations communities that traditionally have these items of regalia, they are seen as items of great spiritual and political importance, only to be worn by those who have earned the right and honour through formal recognition by their people.[1][2]

The article goes on to describe the ceremonial importance of feathers:

Many Native American tribes consider the presentation of an eagle feather to be one of the highest marks of respect. An honored person must have earned their feather through selfless acts of courage and honour, or been gifted them in gratitude for their work or service to their community or Nation. Traditional deeds that bring honour can include acts of valor in battle (including contemporary military service), but also political and diplomatic gains, or acts that helped their community survive and prosper. The esteem attached to eagle feathers is traditionally so high that in many cases, such as a warrior (e.g. Dog Soldiers of the Cheyenne), only two or three honour feathers might be awarded in a person’s whole lifetime. Historically, the warrior who was the first to touch an enemy in battle and escape unscathed received an eagle feather. When enough feathers were collected, they might be incorporated into a headdress or some other form of worn regalia. Historically, headdresses were usually reserved exclusively for the tribe’s chosen political and spiritual leaders.

I believe the carving does justice to the importance of the headdress or war bonnet as it forms a spiraling movement of feathers encasing the proud image of a warrior.  What’s interesting is that this spiraling movement of feathers forms the image of a larger, dominant feather.  I take a picture to show the feather I’m seeing in the carved war bonnet.  This is very cool!My challenge, as with Old Crusty, the Bearded Sailor, is to guard the rustic roughness of the carved image but to clean it up so it becomes more expressive.  The stem is in good shape except for some minor tooth chatter and oxidation. Even though the pipe is unsmoked, the condition of the finish shows some wear and tear.  The chamber is totally pristine.  The top side or top of the headdress, encompasses the chamber and slopes toward the squat shank.  This area appears to be in good shape with only small nicks.  A beautiful showcase for the grain with this much smooth briar exposed.However, it is apparent that the top, right of the headdress, as I look at the image from the front, has sustained some damage. It appears that Chief took a head dive some time ago.  The top edges of the feathers have chipped.  I take another picture on the opposite side that has not sustained this damage to show the comparison of the healthy bridge across the top.  The question is, is this damage too minuscule to bother with and is there enough wood for a patch to cling to if I were to attempt a repair?  The damage is noticeable. Looking straight on at the image, expected nicks are evident amid the intended roughness of the carving.  The crevasses, especially to the left and right of the face, are full of dirt and grime.The large heel of the pipe which enables it to serve as a sitter, reveals 2 daunting fills that will need attention on the far left and right of the picture.  Though, like the top plateau headdress, the heel provides a large plat of briar landscape that will show off the grain.I think that ‘Chief’ serves as a great nickname for this Native North American Hand Carved of Italy. It is evident from his serious expression he is a proud man!  I begin his clean up and restoration for Toby’s future brothers-in-law’s wedding gift, by removing the stem from the stummel to clean it.  I discover that the tenon is mounted with a small, useless stinger which I promptly remove and put it in my growing stinger collection.  After running a pipe cleaner wetted from isopropyl 95% through the stem to clean the airway, I add the stem to a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes and stems in the queue. After several hours in the B&A Deoxidizer soak, I remove Chief’s stem and run another pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95% through airway to clear and clean the Deoxidizer from the airway.  I then wipe the stem with cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the raised oxidation. The oxidation is thick but came off very nicely.The B&A Deoxidizer did a great job and I follow by applying paraffin oil, a mineral oil I can get here in Bulgaria, to the stem which aids the rejuvenation of the vulcanite, rubber compound.  I then set the stem aside to dry and absorb the oil.With nothing in the chamber to clean, I move directly to cleaning the external briar surface using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads.  To clean deeply in the crevasses of the carving I also use a bristled tooth brush and a sharp dental probe to run down the length of the crevasses. The finish on the stummel is very thin and the scrubbing with Murphy’s almost totally removed the finish except for small patches here and there.  The following pictures show the cleaned stummel. As I suspected, the fills made simply of wood glue, has softened after the cleaning process and the fills have also shrunk so that the hole ridges are easily detected.  Without much thought, I use a sharp dental probe to dig out the old material. To remove the patches of left-over finish and to clean the heel where I removed the fill material, I use a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to wipe the surface. This does a good job.A moment of decision has arrived concerning repairs on the stummel surface.  There is no question regarding the holes left on the heel of the pipe.  These will be filled.  The question is how perfectionistic will I be about the feather tips on the upper right of the war bonnet?  I’ve been thinking about how I would approach the fine patching of a carving.  Filling a hole is one thing, recasting an image is quite another!  Without question, if I use briar dust putty made with mixing briar dust and CA glue, the result will be darker for both the heel fills and the feather repair – darker than the raw briar currently shows.  This possibly would mean utilizing a dye later in order to mask and blend the patching but it’s also possible that the natural briar will darken as it sanded, treated and polished and this can possibly mask the repairs enough.  Another question that I mentioned earlier was whether there was enough wood for the patch material to ‘grab’ in order to be a solid repair?Well, as I look at the mangled war bonnet and wondering if I could live with it, an idea started to formulate in my mind, and then started to take shape with my hands.  I snipped the ends of some toothpicks to create crevasse wedges that would form the boundaries around which I could apply patch material.I circled the war bonnet with masking tape that would hold the toothpick wedges in place.  I expect the tape to flex some, but the goal is to hold the wedges in place so that briar putty will not seep into the crevasses.Next, I gently insert the wedges into the crevasses and are held in place by the resistance provided by the tape.I reinforce the masking tape to keep things where then need to be!I decide to start with the heel fills and to employ an accelerator so that the patch would cure quickly, enabling me to flip the stummel and apply patch to the feather repairs. I mix briar dust with a thick CA glue until it reaches the consistency of molasses – that’s my subjective standard – not too thin so that it runs and not so thick that the CA glue hardens too quickly.  I apply the briar dust putty to the holes and then spray with an accelerator.  The putty hardens very quickly. I then flip the stummel and apply briar putty on top of the feathers in need of repair.  I make sure there is excess so that I can file and sand down to form a new flat bride across the top.  I apply the putty carefully but quickly and spray it also with an accelerator so that the putty remains in place and not seep down the crevasses.  I expect some seepage but I’m hoping to ward off a lot because that would not be fun sanding it out! After a time, I unwrap the tape and one toothpick wedge came out with the tape – didn’t put any putty on it at all!  Oh well.  I look at the area and I think it will easily sand.  The three wedges remain with the cured putty holding them in.  I’m hopeful – the plan seems to be working!Using a flat needle file and a triangular needle file that fits very nicely in the crevasses, I begin the slow process of filing over and around the toothpick wedges.  I don’t try pulling the wedges out because I’ll simply file around them until they are loosened from the grip of the putty.  I don’t pull them out risking pulling the patch material off!  The wedge on the right comes out next. As I continue to carefully file, there is now only one wedge remaining.I’m liking how the putty is strong and sturdy as I file on the top as well as in the crevasses vacated by the wedges.  The repair zone still looks pretty rough.I come to the point where I’ve filed the briar putty patch down to almost the briar surface but not quite. I use the triangular file to create a pointed notch at the top of the crevasse.  It looks good!  Time to switch to 240 grade sanding paper to fine tune the sanding.I finish sanding and shaping with 240 grade paper.  Wow! I’m very pleased with the initial results of this reconstruction project on the feathers of the war bonnet.  I will continue to fine tune the results as I go.  I wanted to restore a straight bridge across the top of the feathers to match the healthy feathers. Turning now to the heel repairs, I use a flat needle file on both patch mounds.  I file the mound down until close to the briar surface then I switch to 240 grade sanding paper to bring the patches flush with the briar surface. As sometimes is the case, the fill located to the front of the stummel has a pocket in the briar dust putty patch.  A pocket of air was trapped, and sanding revealed it.I clean out the patch pit and wipe it with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean it.  I then apply clear CA glue to the pit and then spray it with an accelerator to quicken the curing process.Again, I file the patch with the flat needle file and sand with 240 grade paper and the patch is patched!Looking at the stummel, I still see what look like patches where the old finish is still hanging on.  Old finish is evident because it will look a bit shiny compared to the raw briar around it. The reason it is important to dispatch old finish in this case is that will affect the final look if old finish is still in play whether I leave it as natural briar or apply another dye.  In order to continue with a clean briar canvas, I wipe the stummel with acetone using a cotton pad.  This does the trick nicely. The shiny spots are gone. I move on. Next, I see in each of the crevasses of the carving, dark grime and surface discoloration probably from old finish collected in the gaps. Patience is the key here!  First, using a piece of 240 grade sanding paper, I fold into a knife edge and run the paper through every crevasse.  I clean the gaps as well as sand out rough edges and snags as much as I can.After finishing going through all the crevasses with the 240 grade paper, I do the same thing with 600 grade paper. The carving is still maintaining that appropriate rustic roughness, but I like the results of the sanding with the additional cleaning and smoothing. I now use sanding sponges to sand the entire stummel using first a coarse grade sponge, then medium, and finishing with a light grade sponge.  With both the coarse and medium grade sponges, I can run the edge of the sponges through the crevasses.  This is nice to further smooth these rough edges. From the sanding sponges I go straightaway to sanding the stummel with the full micromesh pad regimen.  First, I wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400 then follow dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I take a different angled picture after each set of the pads.  The grain in being teased out and I like that. The deep tone of the natural briar is what I was looking for from the micromesh process.  With a carved pipe like this, I would much rather stay with the natural briar if the briar presentation needs no masking to hide and blend repairs.  The heel fills look almost natural and the feather war bonnet repair is invisible.  For this reason, I stay with the beautiful natural briar that has emerged on Chief and apply Before & After Restoration Balm to enrich and deepen the natural hues of the briar.  I apply the Balm after squeezing some onto my fingers and then I meticulously work the Balm into the briar.  I take special care working it into the carving – each crevasse receives individual attention sometimes with the help of toothpick to push the Balm into the gaps. It takes a bit of time.  After applying the Balm, I wait about 15 minutes for the Balm to fully absorb then I wipe the excess off with a microfiber cloth.  Again, the process is meticulous as I clear, wipe and buff each detailed crevasse.  Chief is looking good!  I take a picture of the Balm absorbing period.Next, I return to the stem that has been waiting for attention.  Before starting the sanding the stem, I test the fit of the tenon/mortise union.  As I detected earlier, it is tight.  To provide a more comfortable fit, I wrap a piece of 240 grade paper around the tenon and while pressing it with my fingers and thumb, I give the paper a few rotations around the tenon and again test the fit.  Works like a charm!  The tenon seats well, with an appropriate snug fit. Turning now to the stem, the bit is in good condition.  The upper bit looks almost pristine, the lower shows just one small dent on the button.  Since this pipe is unsmoked, the only wear and tear on the stem is from living in a drawer or perhaps in a box with special keepsakes.  The vulcanite surface also is rough. To make sure the entire stem is pristine, I mount the stem again, but I use a disc to divide the stem and stummel so that I can sand without concern for shouldering the stem’s shank facing.  I use 240 grade paper on the entire stem, followed by wet sanding with 600 grade paper.  I finish this phase by using 000 grade steel wool to buff up the shine. Now to the micromesh regimen.  I begin by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to continue vitalizing the vulcanite. I like that new glassy, glossy pop of polished vulcanite! Now, on the homestretch.  After rejoining stem and stummel, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, set the speed to about 40% full power and apply Blue Diamond compound to the entire pipe.  I take special care to work the crevasses of the Native American carving.  Afterwards, I wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to remove compound dust in preparation for applying carnauba wax.  I change to another cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel, maintain the same speed and apply the wax to the pipe.  I apply a couple of coats of wax and after completing this, I give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to polish more and raise the shine of the stem and stummel.

I’m pleased with the results of the restoration of this Native American Hand Carved of Italy – Chief.  He’s still rough looking, which I think is appropriate, but the lines and edges have been smoothed through the detailed sanding and the Chief’s image carved on this stummel has come alive.  I really am amazed.  The large smooth heel and plateau came out beautifully with distinct grain profiles.  The repair to the feathers on the war bonnet came out well, too.  When I started, I didn’t know if the repair would work or not.  It worked!  Toby commissioned this Hand Carved Chief from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection as a wedding present for his future brother-in-law.  He will have the first opportunity to acquire this pipe in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits our effort here in Bulgaria working with women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited – the Daughters of Bulgaria .  Thanks for joining me!

Restemming a London Made Pencil Shank Crosby


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes restoring pipes can be very frustrating. This evening I was working on an estate Dunhill Tanshell Zulu and the tenon broke off in the shank. I don’t know if it was cracked but I do know that I did very little and the stem was in one hand and the bowl in the other. It is at times like that when a repair person feels like packing it in and doing something else. But that is really not optional so I turned to do something else… still pipe repair related but still something different. I have a box of pipes that my brother sent me recently and in that was a very nice looking long, pencil shank billiard bowl without a stem. I had a cracked shank but otherwise it was a pretty piece of briar and it needed some TLC – a band and a new stem. It seemed like just the thing to take my mind off the frustrating Dunhill. I wrote Jeff about it and he sent me the following photos of what it looked like before he cleaned it. It was a frustrating piece for him even in the clean up. The stem was with it but the tenon had snapped off in the shank. In removing the tenon from the shank the pencil shank had snapped. Maybe I was moving from one frustration to another! The first photos is the parts grave yard – a snapped shank, a chunk of briar, a broken tenon and a broken stem…oh my.Jeff took a couple of photos of the snapped shank and the piece of briar that had come off. At least it was a very clean break. After cleaning the pipe Jeff glued the piece of briar back on the shank and when it arrived it was tight.The bowl and rim were in awful condition. There was a thick lava coat on the rim top and a thick cake in the bowl. There was tobacco debris in the cake and the lava on the rim it was a mess. It was obviously a great smoking pipe and someone’s favourite – though it always surprises me how far some pipemen and women let their pipes go.Even the exterior of the bowl was a mess with spots of grime and tar on the outside of the bowl as can be seen in the following photos. There were nicks and dents in the bowl but beside all that it was a beautiful piece of briar.Jeff took a photo of the only stamping on the pipe – London Made was stamped on the right side of the shank.He had done a great job cleaning up the pipe. When I took it out of the box it did not look much like the pipe pictured above. The bowl had been reamed and cleaned (Jeff followed his usual regimen of reaming and cleaning). The exterior had been scrubbed and the internals were spotless. The piece of briar had been glued in place and the repair was solid. The broken stem/tenon was gone. It was a clean and beautifully grained stummel when brought it to the worktable and took the following photos. I took a photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim was clean but there was some nicks and dents in the top. The inner and outer edge were in excellent condition and there was darkening toward the back side of the rim top.The shank had a crack in it but had been glued. It would need to be banded. The photo is a little blurry but I have circle the crack in red so that you can identify it.I went through my can of straight stems and found two that had possibilities as well as taking out a band that would fit the shank. I took a couple of photos of my options at this point. I decided to go with the tapered stem as I liked the look of the pipe with that stem.I decided to band the shank first. I rubbed some all-purpose white glue on the shank end and pressed band onto the shank. I cleaned off the excess glue with a damp cloth. The glue would dry and bind the pieces together and hold the band onto the shank end. Once the glue had cured I would fit a new stem. I took some photos of the newly banded shank to show the progress at this point. While the glue on the band was curing I use a needle file to reduce the diameter of the tenon. I had measured previously so I knew what I needed to remove. I sanded it with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the tenon.I fit the stem to the shank and took a few photos to show what the pipe would look like with the new stem. The diameter of the stem at the shank was a little off so it would need to be sanded to reduce it to fit and there were a few tooth marks and some chatter on the stem but otherwise it was looking good. I sanded the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and to minimize the darkening. I polished the rim and the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down with a damp cloth after each pad. The photos show the progress. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look very good with the beautiful grain popping around the rim and sides of the bowl. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem and button surface with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the stem and the button. The stem surface looks better at that point. I forgot to take photos of the process of removing the excess material on the diameter of the stem so that the fit against the band and shank looked better. Once that was done then I started the polishing of the surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With both parts of the pipe finished I put it back together. I carefully polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I carefully worked around the band so I would not get the polishing from the band get on the shank. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The beautiful natural finish and the grain came alive with the buffing. The rich finish on the briar works well with the polished nickel band and new black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is very light weight and looks quite stunning with its slender shank and stem. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This one will be going onto the rebornpipes online store soon. It is a nice one for sure and one that will fit well into someone’s collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration and restemming with me on this thin, pencil shank Crosby billiard. It should be a great smoker!

Crafting a Churchwarden for a Lord of the Ring’s Enthusiast


Blog by Dal Stanton

After restoring 3 pipes which Tina chose to gift special men in her life, the final request was to fashion a Churchwarden for her oldest son Thomas, who is a Lord of the Rings “groupie” and of course, he wants a ‘Gandalf Pipe’ to aid in blowing inspired smoke rings!  Tina’s son has been married for a few years and apparently, he and his wife have a Lord of the Rings movie binge at least once a year!

In my research on the Churchwarden shape, as the story goes, there were men back in the days when they didn’t lock churches at night, who were employed as ‘wardens’ of the church – whose responsibility was to guard the premises.  To be faithful to their charge, they were not allowed to leave the walls of the church.  That created an unusual dilemma between guarding the holy confines and the desire to enjoy one’s evening smoke.  The moral dilemma was creatively solved by a stem.  The length of the stem enabled the church wardens to tend to their evening bowls as they stood vigilantly inside the church walls while the stems extended through the windows…so the story goes (see Pipedia’s article).  Of course, everyone knows that Churchwardens were prevalent in Middle Earth as Gandalf spun up fireworks and smoke rings!

I found a bowl that I put aside quite some time ago that

Courtesy of Gonzalo Kenny https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Balrogs

I believed would serve well as a repurposed stummel to be mounted as a Churchwarden.  I know that there are strict Warden purists out there who question the validity of repurposing a bowl for use in fashioning a Churchwarden.  Yet, I appeal to Bill Burney’s description of the Churchwarden in his excellent Pipe Shapes Chart published in Pipedia where he says: “Interestingly, all the other styles of pipe are identified by the shape of their bowls, but the churchwarden is identified by its long stem.  The stem can be bent or straight, but it is always very long – 9” to 18” long.”.  There may be ‘true born’ Churchwardens and there are also those Churchwardens who are adopted into the ranks through the promotion of a discarded and forgotten stummel surviving from another lifetime where they served among other mere mortal pipes that they used to be.  For a common bowl to be remounted onto a Warden stem and to experience that metamorphosis is perhaps like when Gandalf transformed through fire in his mortal combat with Balrog – transforming from The Grey to The White….  Perhaps, only Gandalf knows for sure!  The bowl and stem I chose for this transformation are now on my table.The pre-molded Warden Stem comes from my main supplier, Tim West at http://www.jhlowe.com/bits.htm.  The stummel has ‘Real Briar’ stamped on the side of the shank, but what I like a lot is the 1/2 bent shank.  This will yield a very nice sweeping bend in the Warden stem.  The bowl’s size is not too large – perfect for a Churchwarden. Looking closely at the stummel, I see potential grain underneath the dark, marred surface.  The rim has lava flow but has an attractive inwardly slanted rim.  The chamber has light cake.  I take some pictures of the stummel in its current condition. Before I start working on fashioning the new preformed stem, I clean the stummel.  I start by reaming the chamber using the Pipnet Reaming kit.  I only use the smallest of the blade heads and then transition to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to fine tune the scraping and cleaning.  Then I sand the chamber using a piece of 240 grade sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  Finally, after wetting a cotton pad with alcohol, I wipe the chamber cleaning it from the carbon dust.  I inspect the chamber after finishing and all looks good. Next, turning to the external surface, I take a few more pictures to show the nasty layer of grime over this stummel!  I use Murphy’s Oil Soap undiluted on a cotton pad and begin the scrubbing process.  I also utilize a brass wire brush to clean the rim. The results are good, but the reality is revealed by the cleaning!  The reality of the condition of the stummel is the reason it was in the box with other lonely stummels having given their all and discarded!  The finish is shot and the rim in mangled. Restoring this stummel to fashion a Churchwarden will be a noble endeavor! Next, I turn to cleaning the internals.  Using cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%, I go to work.  The internals are nasty.  I also utilize and small dental spatula to scrape the mortise walls.  There was a lot of resistance, but the buds started lightening until I was satisfied that the largest part of the cleaning was accomplished.  I’m not too concerned at this point because I’ve already made the decision to put the stummel in a soak of acetone to totally remove all the old finish which will also take care of residual internal tars and oils. The next morning, I fish the bowl out of the acetone bath.  Some of the finish was removed during the soak, but with the use of 0 grade steel wool, I’m able to dispatch the old finish easily after the night’s soak softened the old finish.  The pictures show the raw briar that allows me to start over. With the stummel cleaning process completed, I turn now to fashioning the preformed Churchwarden stem.  I use an electronic caliper to measure the diameter of the mortise to mark the target sizing of the tenon of the preformed stem that will eventually be seated.  The mortise measurement is 7.38mm in diameter.  Using Charles Lemon’s (of Dad’sPipes) methodology, I add 50mm to this exact measurement to give me my ‘fat’ target.  The ‘fat’ target is what I will aim for when bringing the tenon down to size using the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool.  The ‘fat’ target is 7.88mm.  From this point, I will sand the tenon by hand which gradually and patiently custom fits the mortise. The first thing needed is to pre-drill the tenon airway with the drill bit provided by the PIMO tool.  This enlarges the airway slightly enabling the insertion of the PIMO tool guide pin.  I mount the drill bit to the hand drill and drill out the airway.Next, the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool is mounted on the hand drill and I cut a small test sizing to measure to give me the distance between the test cut and the ‘Fat’ target.  After cutting the test, I measure it with the caliper and record 8.72mm and subtract the ‘Fat’ target, 7.88mm leaving .84mm to remove using the PIMO tool. Using the Allen wrench provided with the PIMO tool, I close the gap of the cutting arm and cut again.  The measurement of the next cut after closing the gap of the carbide cutter arm took off more than I wanted – the measurement is 7.47mm – beyond the 7.88 fat target.  This is why you only to partial cuts at the beginning!I enlarge the gap of the cutter arm a small amount and cut again.  The next measurement is 7.75mm – much better, just falling under the 7.88mm fat target.With this measurement reached, I cut the entire tenon down to the 7.75mm width.  I take the cut to the stem shank facing so a nice straight edge is created, and a ‘shoulder’ is not left from the rough preformed stem.I begin the sanding process by wrapping the tenon with 240 grade paper and rotating the stem and applying pressure strategically with my finger and thumb. I smooth and shorten the tenon a little so that it looks better and doesn’t butt into a ridge that I detect in the mortise which would block the full insertion of the tenon.  I use a flat needle file to do this.The process is slow with a lot of tests and sands… But in time the tenon seats very nicely in the mortise.  Nice!With the tenon snuggly seated in the mortise, the work is far from finished!  The picture shows the offset of the stem and the lip of briar hanging over the stem.  No stem fits automatically!The preformed Warden stem also is not straight but bows to the left through the reach of the stem.  I’ll work on this when I bend the stem later.Using 240 grade paper I begin the process of sanding the junction of the stem and shank.  My goal is to have a seamless transition from shank to stem with no overhanging ridges.  The other issue I see is that both the shank and stem have high spots that need to be sanded down and blended into a uniform flow.  What I want to avoid is the bloomers or stuff-pants look – where the shank balloons out when the sanding has not tapered the flow of the shank from the stem width as it transitions into the shank. It takes time, but in time the ridges have been removed and the tapering through the shank to the bowl looks good. I continue sanding the entire stem with 240 grade paper.  The precast stem is full of ridges and the casting seam down both sides – all of which needs to be sanded away and smoothed.  I also use the flat needle file to form and shape the new button.  I want to retain the curved button slot.  It looks classy! After sanding out the main issues with the new precast Warden stem, I transition to wet sanding using 600 grade paper.  With the bowl and stem united, I sand not only the stem including the shaped button, but also the junction of stem and shank to continue to smooth and blend the tapered transition.  After completing the wet sanding with 600 grade, I use 000 grade steel wool to sand in the same way.  The distance pictures with a Warden stem are always too far away to see detail, but a close-up shows some progress.With the main fabricating and sanding completed with the Churchwarden’s stem, the next step is to bend it.  The 1/2 bent shank of the stummel provides a wonderful trajectory for the bend and sweep of the stem – which emulates more directly Gandalf’s style of Warden.  My goal is to bend the stem so that the final orientation of the bit is generally on a parallel orientation with the plane of the stummel rim which is what is suggested by the ruler in the picture. I remarked earlier that the stem is also a little catawampus to the left as you look down the shaft toward the bowl.  Interestingly, I set up a renewed picture to show this looking down the shaft and my second look at this isn’t as pronounced as it appeared to me before.  The sanding and shank tapering may have mitigated this to some degree. Bending the stem is usually by trial and error to get it right, but the good thing is that the vulcanite stem is very forgiving!  To be on the safe side, though I don’t really believe it to be necessary, I put a pipe cleaner into the end of the stem to protect the airway integrity.I use the hot air gun to warm the vulcanite.  As it’s warming, I gently apply pressure to the bend as the rubber compound becomes supple.  When the stem becomes pliable enough and the bend reaches what appears to be at the right place as I eyeball it, I transfer the pipe to a chopping board where I can use the flat surface and the overhang for the bowl and button expansion at both ends, I press down to straighten the shaft orientation as I hold the bend.  This works very well. The first time around, I decide I need a bit more bend, so I reheat, bend further and then hold the stem firmly against the chopping board until the vulcanite sufficiently cools so that I don’t lose the bend.  To make sure the bend holds I run cool tap water on the stem to seal the bend.I like the results!  The bend is perfect and will present a true Gandalf experience for the new steward of the Churchwarden taking shape.Before I put the newly bent Warden aside to turn to the stummel, I apply paraffin oil to vitalize the vulcanite.Turning now to what was a ‘throwaway’ stummel, I like the grain that made an appearance after the cleaning.  It’s in there!  It just needs some TLC to restore it to the condition that allowed for more beauty to come through.  The briar surface is in surprisingly good condition. There are a few dents and nicks to be expected. There’s a more significant heel bruise where it appears the bowl was thumped on a hard surface.The rim has an attractive inwardly sloping cant which will serve to my advantage in dealing with the residual burn marks and the right side (top in the first picture) of the rim.  The outer edge of the rim is also chewed up a bit. Starting with the rim, I begin by using a coarse 120 grade paper to clean and remove the scorched wood and the dents on the edge.  I follow this with 240 grade paper sanding the canted rim surface.  I’m hopeful this will remove the blemishes but also serve to freshen the rim canted pitch and lines.  I then fine tune with 600 grade paper. The results are great.  The transformation is more than hoped for!  The rim is actually very attractive and some grain peeking out.I do the same with the heel bruise.  I dispatch the blemish quickly with 240 grade paper followed by 600 grade paper.Continuing the sanding, I now sand the entire stummel using sanding sponges.  I start with a coarse sponge, followed by a medium grade then finish with the light grade sanding sponge.  The briar grain is showing up!Following the sanding sponges, I apply the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads.  First, I wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400 then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  For a ‘throwaway stummel’ this piece of briar is looking very nice. Throughout the micromesh process, I knew I was approaching a decision point.  The natural briar came out way more than I had thought possible when I began with this stummel.  I can remain with the natural briar or apply a dye.  I decide to apply Fiebing’s Saddle Tan Pro Dye to the stummel not for the purpose of covering blemishes but to bring out the briar grain more which is still somewhat subdued as I look at it.  I assemble my desktop dying components.  After I wipe the stummel with alcohol to clean the surface, I insert two folded pipe cleaners into the shank to serve as a handle.I then heat the briar stummel with an air gun.  As the briar heats, this expands the grain enabling the grain to be more receptive to the dye when it’s applied.Using a folded pipe cleaner, I paint the bowl with the aniline based dye in sections and flame each section as I go.  I use the lit candle to combust the painted section of wet dye and it immediately combusts the alcohol in the dye leaving the pigment to set in the heated wood.  I eventually apply the Saddle Tan dye to the entire stummel and repeat the painting and flaming process again to assure full coverage.  I then put the dyed and flamed stummel on the cork to rest through the night. With the dyed bowl resting I take the Churchwarden stem through the full micromesh regimen.  I wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads I apply a healthy coat of Obsidian Oil to the stem to vitalize the vulcanite.  The newly polished vulcanite pops!  I take one concluding picture instead of the usual 3 because the picture shows no detail because of the size of the stem!The next morning, I’m ready to unwrap the flamed bowl.  After mounting a felt cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, I set the speed to the lowest possible to reduce the heating factor.  I then apply Tripoli compound to the bowl to remove the flamed crust to reveal the briar beneath. With the assistance of my wife, she takes a few pictures to show the initial removal of the flamed crust.  It takes me a good bit of time to slowly and methodically go through this ‘plowing’ and polishing process.  I remove dye blotches to make sure what is revealed is the minutia of the grain texture.  Not pictured is after I complete the process with the felt wheel (pictured below) I change to a cotton cloth buffing wheel and increase the speed of the Dremel to 40 % of full speed and again go over the entire stummel with Tripoli compound.  I do this first, to reach into the crook of the shank that is too tight for the felt wheel to reach.  Also, I like the further fine tuning of the Tripoli compounds polishing of the briar surface.  The grain sharpens even more providing the contrasts between the harder and softer woods of the briar.I then wipe the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to blend the dyed finish.  The wipe of alcohol evens out the finish and blends it.  Wiping with alcohol will also lighten the finish if I continue to wipe, but I like the tone of the hue where it is so I only to a light wipe for blending purposes.I switch to another cotton cloth buffing wheel, keep the speed on the Dremel and 40% and apply Blue Diamond compound to the stem and stummel.  I don’t join the two because it is easier to work with each individually.  After completing the application of the compound, I wipe both stem and stummel with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust left behind.Finally, I reunite the Warden stem with the repurposed stummel and apply a few coats of carnauba wax to the Churchwarden.  When finished, I give the pipe a vigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to bring out the shine.

Wow!  When I think of where this throwaway stummel was at the beginning of the process and what I see now, it is truly amazing. This Churchwarden’s 1/2 bent shank provides the perfect trajectory for the stem’s gentle, flowing bend to project a pipe that is truly Gandalf worthy!  The grain of the bowl is varied from a vertical flame, a knot with outwardly flowing concentric circles and some bird’s eye thrown in for good measure!  This Churchwarden is certified for Middle Earth distribution for Tina’s son, Thomas.  Tina commissioned  this Churchwarden project along with 3 other restorations (to learn more about commissioning pipes see: For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! ) and each will be boxed and heading to Birmingham, Alabama, USA, from Bulgaria.  All these pipes benefit our efforts here in Bulgaria working with women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited – the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thank you, Tina!, and thank you for joining me!