Tag Archives: flaming

New Life for a Yello Bole Canadian


On a recent trip to the US to visit my parents I also visited several antique malls in their city. I have three that I usually have on my list when I go there. The one I want to focus on in this post is in an old grain elevator and has three floors of many “antiques” which always surprise me because many are the same age as I am!  Anyway, on the second floor I found a booth with two pipe racks containing over a dozen older pipes. Most were junk in that they had cracked bowls and broken shanks etc. But also in the midst of it was this old Yello Bole Canadian. It had some beautiful briar in it. Yello Bole is the grade down the line for KayWoodie, or so I am told. Pipes that don’t make the grade for KW will often be stamped with the Yello Bole brand. This one was stamped KBB in a cloverleaf on the top of the shank and next to it Yello Bole over honey cured, over imported briar. The stem has the yellow circle inlaid in the vulcanite. If memory serves me correctly this is one of the older pipes in the line.

ImageImage

The bowl was in pretty clean shape. The yellow coating was still visible in the bowl and the bottom half of the bowl was very clean with just a bit of darkening to the yellow coating. The rim was dirty and dented. There were tars on the rim and some deep scratches to go along with the dents. The bowl however, was still round, it had not been ruined by a reamer going a muck. The stem was oxidized and was slightly brown. There was light tooth chatter but no dents on the surface of the stem. The overall finish of the pipe had light spots and dark spots where the finish seems to have been exposed to light or was wiped down and finish removed. There was no over coat of varnish or of lacquer just solid clean briar with a spotty stain.

ImageImage

I broke the pipe down as seen in the pictures below. The stinger apparatus can be seen in the pictures. It is an aluminum shovel like contraption with the hole near the tenon and a long shovel like extension that extends through most of the shank. I cleaned out the bowl with an alcohol scrub on cotton swabs and cleaned out the shank with a shank brush, bristle pipe cleaners and fluffy pipe cleaners and alcohol. When they came out clean I worked on the outside of the bowl. I used cotton balls and acetone to wipe down the outside of the bowl and shank. I wanted to remove the rest of the finish so that I could prepare it for restaining. I applied the acetone until the bowl was free of the stain and finish. The pictures below show the cleaned surface of the bowl. I also used the acetone and some 400 and 600 wet dry sandpaper to clean the top of the bowl and rim. A folded piece of sand paper was used on the inner edge of the rim to clean the beveled edge. Before I stained the pipe I decided to clean and polish the stem. I used the Bic lighter method mentioned in an earlier blog post to get rid of the oxidation. In the pictures below the stem has the majority of the oxidation removed using that method. I then used 400 and 600 grit wet dry sandpaper with water and my usual list of micromesh pads from 1500-6000 grit to polish the stem.

ImageImageImage

Once the stem was cleaned and polished by hand I inserted it into the bowl and used it to hold the pipe while I restained it. I used a medium brown aniline stain on this pipe to approximate the original stain and to highlight the grain. I applied it with the dauber that came with the stain and then flamed it to set the stain. I then took it to the buffer and buffed it with Tripoli to remove some of the opacity of the medium brown stain and bring the grain to life. Once that was done it was buffed with White Diamond. Both the stem and the bowl were buffed. Care should be exercised in the buffing process to not obliterate the stamping. I use a light touch when buffing around the stamping. The four pictures below show the finished pipe – ready to load with a favourite tobacco and enjoy!

ImageImageImageImage

 

One of my favourite refurbs – 1919 BBB Bent Calabash


I was going through some old pictures on my hard drive the other day and found this one that I bought on EBay for a very reasonable price early in 2008. I finished refurbishing it in March of 2008. It was and is one of my favourites. You can see from the picture below what kind of shape it was in when I got it. In the pictures on EBay it looked worse than it does in the picture below. I opened the box when it arrive expecting far worse. I bid on it because I liked the shape of the pipe and I figured it would be a challenge.

The stem was oxidized to the brown white coloration that appears below. It almost appeared to be a horn stem – but it was not. When I removed it from the shank – which took a bit as it was stuck by the goop in the shank and the oxidation that portion was black. I put it in the freezer for a short period of time to cause some expansion and contraction in the stem that would loosen it from the shank. When I took it out of the freezer it was easily removed. I went to work on the inside of the stem with shank brushes and pipe cleaners, both bristle and fluffy dipped in alcohol. I worked on the stem until the cleaners came out white and clean.

I then mixed a batch Oxyclean and soaked it in the solution overnight to soften the oxidation. I find that the Oxyclean solution (warm water and a half scoop of Oxy in a pint jar) works wonders in softening the oxidation. It does not remove it but it made it easier to remove. Once I took it out of the solution the next morning to work on it I used 240 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation. It worked well to take off the brownish white coating on the stem. Once that was finished it was a dull brown and I continued to work on it with the 400 grit wet dry sandpaper until it was a dull black. I then progressed to 600 grit wet dry sandpaper to further remove the grime. I used both of these sandpapers with water as I find it gives the grit more bite on the stem. I had not discovered micromesh at this time so I used 800 and 1000 grit sand paper and continued to sand the stem clean. By the time I used the 1200 grit wet dry sandpaper the stem was looking like new. I took it to my buffer and used the Tripoli and White Diamond to finish the job.

While the stem was soaking in the oxy I reamed and cleaned the pipe bowl and shank. I worked on it until the pipe cleaners came out clean. It took many bristle cleaners and many fluffy one to get it clean. I also used cotton swabs in the shank to remove the tars and build up there. I scrubbed the outside of the bowl and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and deep seated dirt on the bowl. After I finished the scrub and clean I put the bowl in a bath of Isopropyl alcohol to remove any remaining dirt and grime and the badly damaged finish on the bowl. That was the first night of my working on the pipe. I went to bed that evening with both the bowl and the stem soaking in their separate baths.

Image

The next morning I finished up the stem and set it aside as I described above. I turned my attention to the pipe bowl. I removed it from the alcohol bath and dried it off. I used a wet cloth and a butter knife heated over a flame to raise the dents in the outer rim of the pipe and the sides of the bowl. The process is quite simple. You wet a cloth, wring it out so it is not dripping wet yet still wet. Then fold it and put it over a dent. Heat the knife (I use our gas stove to do it but have also used an alcohol lamp). I then lay the flat blade of the knife on the dent. You will hear a hiss as the heat causes steam to rise from around the blade. The steam causes the dent to rise. I applied the blade repeatedly until the dents were minimized. Then I took it to my work table and used a flat board and a piece of sandpaper to top the pipe just enough to remove the remaining dents and damage. I do that on a flat surface to maintain the flatness of the rim without changing the angle. When that was finished I wiped down both the bowl and rim with an alcohol damp cloth to remove any residual sanding dust.

I then used an aniline stain, in this case medium brown as I had researched and found that the colour matched the colour of the pipe when it was new. I used the dauber that came with the stain and applied it to the rim and the body of the pipe. I started at the bottom of the bowl and worked my way up to the rim. The rim always the last part I do. Once it was completely covered with stain I ignited it with my lighter to set the stain. The process is called flaming the stain (at least that is what I call it.) I let it dry while I put a coat of wax on the stem.

When the stain was dry I took the bowl to my buffer and gave it a buff with Tripoli and White Diamond to remove the top coat of the stain and the opacity of the stain. The result can be seen in the picture below. I also used some silver polishing compound applied with a soft cloth to remove the tarnish on the end cap. I finished that process with a silver polishing cloth to give it a good shine. When that was completed I gave the bowl and cap a good buff with carnauba wax then reinserted the stem and gave the entire pipe an extra coat of wax for a finish.

Image

I still smoke it today and it delivers proudly! The last two pictures below show what the pipe looks like today after 4 years of use. It has developed a deep patina to the bowl and the warmth of the medium brown stain has mellowed into a richness that is really nice. Repeated waxings over the years have helped mellow the finish and also deepen the black of the vulcanite stem. This is one of my favourite old pipes. It truly is a reborn pipe. In 7 years it will be 100 years old. Some days I wish it could talk because I can’t even begin to imagine the stories it could tell.

ImageImage

Refurbed Social by Comoy’s


This afternoon late the postie delivered the Social pipe made by Comoy’s that I picked up off Ebay a few weeks ago. I took it apart and went to work. The bowl was pretty caked and broken up inside… cake falling off the walls. The The top was tarred. I reamed and cleaned it. Interestingly this is an old timer. It has the old orific button as I show in one of the before shots of the stem. It has some kind of reservoir between then end of the stepped tenon and the the airway into the bowl. It is below the airway and the tenon is drilled with the airway high to match up.

I put the bowl in an alcohol bath and cleaned it up. The mess came off really well. I then sanded the bowl with 600, 1800, 2400 and 4000 grit and then restained it with a medium brown stain. The Stem was soaking in Oxyclean and when I removed it I cleaned the grime off of it. It was a bit oxidized so that came off no problem. I then buffed the entirety with white diamond and then Carnuba. Here are the before shots:

ImageImageImageImage

You will note there are some pretty deep dents in the side of the bowl. These came out a bit but they remain as character marks. There were some on the underside of the shank as well. They too remain.

After refurbishing:

ImageImageImageImage

Refurb on a Irwin (GBD Second) Saddle stem Billiard


The 1976 GBD Catalogue says this about the Irwin pipes: “The warm dual-tone brown finish deepens with repeated smoking. Finest Rum is used in the special process of maturing these fine pipes. Its smooth flavour complements the natural taste of fine tobacco.” Knowing that when I came across this old timer I put in the pile to recondition while I was off this week. It is stamped Irwin over London England on the left shank. On the right side is the shape number 1207. It was caked a bit so I reamed the bowl and wiped it down with alcohol. The shank was dusty and dirty so it was cleaned as well. The bowl then went into the alcohol bath and sat for a half hour while I worked on the stem. It was in pretty good shape with a minimum of teeth chatter. I sanded out the tooth marks and sanded the residual oxidation on the stem. I then buffed the stem and polished it.

Once I was finished I took the bowl out of the bath and wiped it down. It was clean and once it dried was ready for sanding in preparation for a new coat of stain. I wiped it down with clean alcohol to remove any dust and then stained it with a cherry stain to bring out the brown highlights in the finish. I then buffed the entirety and waxed it with carnauba. I am very happy with the results. Thanks for looking. Here are the before shots:

Image

Image

Here are the pictures after refurbishing

ImageImageImage