Tag Archives: Gourd Calabash pipes

Cleaning up another Carved Bowl Gourd Calabash with Porcelain Cup


Blog by Steve Laug

With all of the work I have been doing the last couple of days on gourd calabash pipes I decided to look through some my pipes awaiting restoration and found three more calabashes. Last night I tried to remove the stem from the top pipe with the yellow stem and the tenon broke off in my hand. That left me with the bottom pipe in the photo below. It had a carved finish on the gourd surface and a unique Porcelain cup instead of meerschaum. It was a tall narrow pipe. Jeff had done the clean up work on the interior of the gourd and the porcelain cup. There was still some darkening on the rim top but nothing serious. He had soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and then scrubbed it with Soft Scrub. I have had it in boxes here for at least a year if not longer The vulcanite stem is lightly oxidized and the porcelain is dull and needing to be polished but otherwise they are in excellent condition.The calabash on the bottom of the above photo is a tall, narrow, drawn out gourd. The gourd has a carved finish that does not come through well in the above photo. It is well done and very tactile. Its measurements are Length: 9 inches, Height: 4 ½ inches, Diameter of the porcelain cup: 2 ½ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 inch. I took photos of that pipe before my polishing work. I took photos of the cup to show the cleanness of the bowl. It is a little scratched which I will polish out. The stem is lightly oxidized and has light tooth chatter and marks. It should clean up easily.      I took the pipe apart and took a series of photos to show its condition and the overall appearance of the pipe. The cork gasket it dry and lifeless and needs to be rejuvenated. The porcelain bowl is quite different from the normal meerschaum bowl that is generally used on these calabash pipes.     I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket in the bowl. I worked it into the cork with my finger tips to soften the gasket. Once it had absorbed a bit it would be soft and hold the porcelain bowl in the gourd easily.I polished the porcelain cup/bowl with micromesh sanding pads – polishing with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping them down with a damp cloth after each pad.  Because the gourd had been carved and the surface opened up the calabash was quite dry. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish with my finger tips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product cleans, protects and enlivens the surface of the material that it is rubbed into and in this case it really enhanced the rustication on the gourd.   I put the porcelain cup in the gourd calabash bowl and took photos of the restoration of this pipe to this point in the process.      I sanded out the tooth marks in the vulcanite with 220 grit sandpaper and blended them into the surface of the surrounding stem. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after the sanding.    I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads –sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil.     I really enjoyed refurbishing this pipe because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished porcelain bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. The porcelain bowl is clean and ready load up with your favourite tobacco. Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, Its measurements are Length: 8 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ¼ inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. The weight of the pipe is 71grams/2.50oz. This is one will be going on the rebornpipes store in  CERAMIC & MEERSCHAUM PIPES – CALABASHES, SMOOTH & FIGURALS section. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.           

Cleaning Up an Older Meerschaum Bowled Gourd Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

With all of the work I have been doing the last couple of days on gourd calabash pipes I decided to look through some my pipes awaiting restoration and found three more calabashes. I received an email from a fellow wanting one that would cost a little less than the unsmoked ones that have all sold. I sent him the photo below and he chose the second pipe the one in the middle toward the right of the photo. Jeff had done the clean up work on the interior of the gourd and the meerschaum cup. There was still some darkening on the rim top but nothing serious. He had soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and then scrubbed it with Soft Scrub. I have had it in boxes here for at least a year if not longer The vulcanite stem is lightly oxidized and the meerschaum is dull and needing to be polished but otherwise they are in excellent condition. The calabash is a well formed gourd with a nicely crowned meerschaum cup. Its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 4 inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 3 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ½ inches. I took photos of the cup to show the cleanness of the bowl. It is a little scratched which I will polish out. The stem is lightly oxidized but surprisingly unmarked by tooth chatter or marks. It should clean up easily.     I took the pipe apart and took a series of photos to show its condition and the overall appearance of the pipe. The cork gasket it dry and lifeless and needs to be rejuvenated. I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket in the bowl. I worked it into the cork with my finger tips to soften the gasket. Once it had absorbed a bit it would be soft and hold the meerschaum bowl in the gourd easily.I polished the meerschaum cup/bowl with micromesh sanding pads – polishing with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping them down with a damp cloth after each pad.   I put the meerschaum cup in the gourd calabash bowl and took photos of the restoration of this pipe to this point in the process.  I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads –sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil.     I really enjoyed refurbishing this pipe because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished meerschaum bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. The bowl has a light patina from just sitting unsmoked. It should colour very well as you smoke it. Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 4 inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 3 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ½ inches. The weight of the pipe is 109grams/3.84oz. This is one is already sold and will soon go to pipeman who purchased it. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.   

Easy Cleanup of the third NOS Unsmoked Gourd Calabash with a rusticated bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday I received a box of pipes that Jeff had cleaned up and sent to me. It is a nice assortment of pipes that should be fun to work on. In the box were three unsmoked, NOS Meerschaum bowled Gourd Calabash pipes. I lined them up and took a photo of them that I have included below. The vulcanite stems are lightly oxidized and the meerschaum is dull and needing to be polished but otherwise they are in perfect condition. The top two are smooth calabashes that I have cleaned up and posted. The bottom one is etched/rusticated. I will finish my polishing work on the last of them below.The calabash on the bottom left side of the above photo is a well formed gourd. The gourd has a nice rustication that does not come through to well in the above photo. It is well done and very tactile. Its measurements are Length: 8 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ¼ inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. I took photos of that pipe before my polishing work.    I took photos of the cup to show the cleanness of the bowl. It is a little scratched which I will polish out. The stem is lightly oxidized but unmarked by tooth chatter or marks. It should clean up easily and allow whoever takes it in trust to put their own teeth marks on it.    I took the pipe apart and took a series of photos to show its condition and the overall appearance of the pipe. The cork gasket it dry and lifeless and needs to be rejuvenated.    I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket in the bowl. I worked it into the cork with my finger tips to soften the gasket. Once it had absorbed a bit it would be soft and hold the meerschaum bowl in the gourd easily.I polished the meerschaum cup/bowl with micromesh sanding pads – polishing with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping them down with a damp cloth after each pad.    Because the gourd had been rusticated the calabash was quite dry. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish with my finger tips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product cleans, protects and enlivens the surface of the material that it is rubbed into and in this case it really enhanced the rustication on the gourd.  I put the meerschaum cup in the gourd calabash bowl and took photos of the restoration of this pipe to this point in the process.      I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads –sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil.    I really enjoyed refurbishing this pipe because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished meerschaum bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. The bowl has a light patina from just sitting unsmoked. It should colour very well as you smoke it. Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, Its measurements are Length: 8 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ¼ inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. The weight of the pipe is 80grams/2.82oz. This is one is already sold and will soon go to pipeman who purchased it. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.        

Easy Cleanup of a Nice Midsized Bowled Gourd Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday I received a box of pipes that Jeff had cleaned up and sent to me. It is a nice assortment of pipes that should be fun to work on. In the box were three unsmoked, NOS Meerschaum bowled Gourd Calabash pipes. I lined them up and took a photo of them that I have included below. The vulcanite stems are lightly oxidized and the meerschaum is dull and needing to be polished but otherwise they are in perfect condition. The top two are smooth calabashes and the bottom one is etched/rusticated. I will start my polishing work and go through them in the order below.The calabash in the middle, toward the right side of the above photo is a well formed gourd. Its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 ¼ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ½ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 inch. I took photos of that pipe before my polishing work.    I took photos of the cup to show the cleanness of the bowl. It is a little scratched which I will polish out. The stem is lightly oxidized but unmarked by tooth chatter or marks. It should clean up easily and allow whoever takes it in trust to put their own teeth marks on it.  I took the pipe apart and took a series of photos to show its condition and the overall appearance of the pipe. The cork gasket it dry and lifeless and needs to be rejuvenated. I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket in the bowl. I worked it into the cork with my finger tips to soften the gasket. Once it had absorbed a bit it would be soft and hold the meerschaum bowl in the gourd easily.  I polished the meerschaum cup/bowl with micromesh sanding pads – polishing with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping them down with a damp cloth after each pad.  I put the meerschaum cup in the gourd calabash bowl and took photos of this portion of the restoration of this pipe.       I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads –sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil.     I really enjoyed refurbishing this pipe because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished meerschaum bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. The bowl has a light patina from just sitting unsmoked. It should colour very well as you smoke it. Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 ¼ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ½ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 inch.  The weight of the pipe is 80grams/2.82oz. This is one that will go on the Meerschaum Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Easy Cleanup of a Nice Large Bowled Gourd Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday I received a box of pipes that Jeff had cleaned up and sent to me. It is a nice assortment of pipes that should be fun to work on. In the box were three unsmoked, NOS Meerschaum bowled Gourd Calabash pipes. I lined them up and took a photo of them that I have included below. The vulcanite stems are lightly oxidized and the meerschaum is dull and needing to be polished but otherwise they are in perfect condition. The top two are smooth calabashes and the bottom one is etched/rusticated. I will start my polishing work and go through them in the order below.The calabash at the top of the above photo is the largest of the three pipes. Its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 4 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 3 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. I took photos of that pipe before my polishing work. I took photos of the cup to show the cleanness of the bowl. It is a little scratched which I will polish out. The stem is lightly oxidized but unmarked by tooth chatter or marks. It should clean up easily and allow whoever takes it in trust to put their own teeth marks on it.     I took the pipe apart and took a series of photos to show its condition and the overall appearance of the pipe. You can see that the cork gasket it dry and lifeless and needs to be rejuvenated. I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket in the bowl. I worked it into the cork with my finger tips to soften the gasket. Once it had absorbed a bit it would be soft and hold the meerschaum bowl in the gourd easily.I polished the meerschaum cup/bowl with micromesh sanding pads – polishing with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping them down with a damp cloth after each pad.    I put the meerschaum cup in the gourd calabash bowl and took photos of this portion of the restoration of this pipe. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.     I really enjoyed putting this pipe together and restoring it because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished meerschaum bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 4 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 3 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. The weight of the pipe is 146grams/5.15oz. This is one that will go on the Meerschaum Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.            

Restemming a Small Porcelain Bowled Gourd Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

In my box of bowls, collected over the years I had this small gourd calabash pipe with a ceramic cup insert. Somewhere along its journey someone had broken the tenon off in the shank. I was looking at it this morning and was drawn to it. There was something about the little calabash that was attractive. The golden shank extension and the white porcelain cup looked good. I imagined what it would look like with a black stem and figure it would be a good one to fiddle with while I waited for calls that I was expecting. To start off the work I would need to remove the broken tenon in the shank. There are multiple ways to do that but first I tried to pull it with a screw twisted into the airway but it would not budge. I removed the porcelain bowl from the gourd and set it aside to work on later. I did not drop it by accident. I used my cordless drill and a bit the same size as the mortise and slowly drill the broken tenon out of the mortise. It did not take long before it dropped out of the mortise in pieces as shown in the photos below. I went through my can of stems and found one that I thought looked good with golden coloured shank extension and gourd. It is a fancy stem that is paneled once passed the saddle.The tenon was a little large for the mortise so I used a Dremel and sanding drum to start the process of taking down. I noticed that the tenon was not centered on the stem so I used a rasp to bring it back to center and remove the excess vulcanite. I sanded it smooth with a folded piece of 220 sandpaper and fit it on the shank. I took photos of the look of the stem at this point. I would need to give it a slight bend before it was finished, but I liked the look of it.I set the gourd and stem aside for awhile and turned to work on the porcelain bowl. It was a dirty mess with lava on the rim top and a thick cake in the bowl. I removed the lava on the rim top by dry sanding it with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. I was able to remove all of the build up and get it back to the porcelain finish underneath.I scraped out the cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took it back to bare walls. The bowl and airway at the bottom were in excellent condition. I scrubbed the internal of the bowl and the exterior of the cup and rim top with a tooth brush and some dish soap to remove the grime that had build up and leave the bowl clean and fresh smelling.I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of worn 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the nicks in the edge. When I finished it looked better.I polished the porcelain cup top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the cup top down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the dust and debris. The cup really took on a shine.The gourd was quite clean inside. I wiped it out with a paper towel to remove the debris. I used some Vaseline petroleum jelly renew the cork gasket around the inside of the gourd neck. I worked it in with my fingertips and let it sit until the dry cork had absorbed the jelly and was more elastic.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the gourd with my finger tips to enliven, clean and protect the surface. I let it sit on the gourd for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. The gourd really came alive with the product. I put the porcelain cup back on the gourd bowl and took pictures of the pipe at this point in the restoration and restemming. I set the gourd and cup aside and turned my attention to the stem. I put a slight bend in the stem using my heat gun. The photo below shows the bend. The angle of the bend makes the pipe level in the mouth.I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  This Delicate Looking Small Porcelain Bowled Gourd Calabash is a great looking older pipe. I have no idea of the age of the pipe but I have had it in my box of bowl for probably15-18 years and I have no memory of where I picked it up or when. It is a great looking pipe that came out looking even better with the newly fit stem. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The white of the porcelain cup works well with the orange/brown of the gourd, the golden shank extension and the polished black vulcanite fancy stem adds to the mix. With the grime gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not drop or damage the bowl or gourd. I gave the gourd and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Porcelain Bowled Gourd Calabash is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 42grams/1.48oz. It will soon be added to the Ceramic and Meerschaum Pipes section on the rebornpipes store. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Putting together a Great Looking Gourd Calabash from Parts


Blog by Steve Laug

For years now I have kept a box of parts and bowls for a variety of pipes. It has briar bowls that I want to one day restem and shank extensions etc. Periodically Jeff will send me bits and bobs in the boxes of pipes that he sends me. I don’t remember where I picked up the gourd calabash with a meerschaum cup below. It was large and in excellent condition. It was missing the acrylic  shank extension that was glued into the shank of the calabash and it was missing a stem. In the latest box that Jeff sent me he included a shank extension and a stem that I thought would work perfectly to complete this calabash. I put the extension in the shank and took pictures of the parts of the pipe. It worked very well together and once it was all glued and fitted it would look great. I glued the shank extension in the end of the calabash and set it aside to cure. Once the glue was set the shank extension was ready for the new stem.I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket in the bowl. I worked it into the cork with my finger tips to soften the gasket. Once it had absorbed a bit it would be soft and hold the meerschaum bowl in the gourd easily.I put the meerschaum bowl in the gourd and put the stem in the shank extension and took photos of the newly constructed calabash.  I took a photo of the meerschaum cup from the top to show the general condition. It was in decent condition with some scratching and staining around the top surface. The inside of the bowl was in excellent condition. The edges of the bowl and chamber  were in excellent condition. The stem was virtually unused with no tooth marks or chatter on either side.  I took a photo of the bowl and stem from the side to give a sense of proportion. It is a great looking pipe.I started my work on the bowl by polishing the meerschaum bowl with micromesh sanding pads – polishing with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping them down with a damp cloth after each pad. I waxed the meerschaum bowl with Clapham’s Beeswax Polish. I rubbed it into the meerschaum with my finger tips and once it had dried I buffed it out with a soft cotton cloth.    I polished the gourd down with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. The gourd had taken on a great shine. I rubbed the gourd down with Before  and After Restoration Balm to clean and rejuvenate the  gourd and give the calabash and briar a fresh look. I put the meerschaum cup in the gourd calabash bowl and took photos of this portion of the restoration of this pipe. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.   I really enjoyed putting this pipe together and restoring it because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished meerschaum bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 7 inches, Height: 4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 3 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 142grams/5.04oz. This is one that will go on the Meerschaum Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.    

Yet Another Treasure – a 1905 BBB Silver Capped Gourd Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

Time really flies during this COVID-19 time! It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. The collection included Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange. But I have to tell you there was another very interesting pipe caught my interest when I looked at pictures of it. It was a beautiful older BBB Calabash with an albatross wing bone extension that is shown in the photo below. I have worked on a lot of BBB pipes over the years and never had the opportunity to work on one like this. It would be a great addition to my collection of BBB pipes. From the photos the pipe appeared to be in good condition from the photo he sent me. He said that the pipe was stamped on the left side of the silver ferrule and read AF & Co over three hallmarks. The hallmarks are as follows: an anchor (Birmingham, England), a rampant lion (the symbol for quality of the silver) and the final one is a lower case “f” (the date stamp). It has the same stamp on the rim cap and the shank extension. I could not wait to get it and have a look at it up close and personal. I had him ship it to Jeff for cleanup so it would be a while before I held in hand.When the package arrived at Jeff’s place in Idaho he waited for me and opened the box with me on Facetime to look at the collection of pipes as he removed them from the box. It is an amazing collection and one that I am going to enjoy working on over the months ahead. Jeff took some photos of the BBB Calabash with the silver cap and bone shank extension for me to look at while he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a real beauty. Jeff took photos of the bowl and the silver capped rim top to show the cake in the bowl. The silver cap has some nicks, dents and dings in it that will remain after the cleanup as part of the story of the pipe. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the gourd. You can see the beautiful shape and the contrast of the silver and the calabash even through the dirt and debris of over 105 years.       The stamping on the pipe was on the silver of the pipe rather than any where else on the gourd. It is on the rim cap, the ferrule and the end cap of the extension. On the rim cap it is stamped toward the front and reads AF&Co which are the Adolph Frankau Company. After his death, the BBB gradually became known as Britain’s Best Briars. Soon to be the oldest English trademark in current use and the first pipe ever to have a registered trade mark. “Britain’s Best Briars”, often called BBB, is one of the oldest brands still in production. At the back of the rim cap it is stamped with three hallmarks – an anchor, a lion and a lower case “f”.  The anchor identifies the city of origin of the silversmith (Birmingham, England), the rampant lion (the symbol for quality of the silver) and the final one is a lower case “f” (the date stamp). There is a slight variation on the stamping on the scalloped ferrule. It includes the BBB Diamond stamp above the AF&Co which is above the same three hallmarks noted above. The shank extension matches the ferrule exactly. All have the same date letter “h”.  The ferrule has some dents on the left side as shown in the photos below. Because of the attachment to the gourd I will be leaving the dents as a part of the pipe’s story. I turned to one of the numerous silver hallmark chars on line for the city of Birmingham, England (https://www.silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Dates/Birmingham.html) and was able click on the section that applied to the date stamp on this pipe. The first chart below is the chart from 1773-2024.I am also including screen capture of the enlarged section on the Birmingham dates for the letter F. This chart covers pipes made in 1778-2005. I have drawn a read box around the hallmark pattern that matches the one on the BBB pipe silverwork. You can see that it dates the pipe to 1905. That means that this gourd calabash is over 115 years old. All of the silverwork confirms the 1905 date for the pipe. The bowl lining in the calabash seems to be a clay lining that is seat in the gourd and held in place by the silver top cap.

With the information from the two sites I had a pretty clear idea on the background of the pipe. It was definitely an old timer and really was another stellar acquisition. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe from top to stern. He reamed it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. Without being able to remove the bowl liner the internal cleaning of the gourd was complicated but he cleaned it as much as possible. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the calabash and the tarnish and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights gourd. The rim top looked very good and the inner and outer edge looked very good. The nicks and dents in the silver remain and will be “war wounds” that travel with the pipe. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The rim top  looked good. There were some dents and scratches in the silver. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the short stem and with the extension. It is a good looking pipe and very unique.I polished the silver rim top, edges and the gourd with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.  I was able to give a shine to the silver, remove scratches a bit and also polish the gourd.     I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the gourd with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the gourd. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I polished the scalloped silver ferrule with a jewelers cloth to remove any residual tarnish and also to protect it from future tarnish (at least for awhile). The interesting detail for me is that the ferrule is scalloped and the end of the shank extension that holds the stem also is scalloped.   With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the silver stem cap with a jewelers cloth that helps remove any residual tarnish and protects the silver.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.    With the bowl and the short stem finished I put the pipe back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is an amazing little pipe. The dimensions of this part of the pipe are – Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the short version of the pipe is 2.33 ounces/66 grams. This unique find – a 1905 BBB Silver Capped Gourd Calabash is joining the other pipes in my collection of BBB pipes and will hold a place of honour while it is in my trust. This is another pipe that one day soon I will enjoy a special bowl of tobacco in it and be transported to a slower paced time in history where I can enjoy a respite. With the pipe and short stem finished all that remained was to finish the shank extension that fit in the shank end of the pipe. The end that fit into the shank had the same end cap as the stem itself. The opposite end was fitted to receive the end cap of the stem. The tube between the caps is albatross wing bone. There was a small crack in the bone at the joint of the silver that held the stem. I filled in the crack with clear CA glue to stabilized. It I polished it with the full gamut of micromesh sanding pads to blend it in the rest of the bone. I polished the silver with a jewelers cloth to remove residual tarnish in the turnings of the silver caps and polished the shank extension with Obsidian Oil. The length of the extension tube is 8 ½ inches. I took a few photos of the pipe next to the extension to give a sense of the size. I also took photos of the extension tube with the stem in place to show the look of it. Finally the last photos give a sense of the fully extended BBB Silver Capped Calabash with the bone extension. With it installed on the pipe the length of the pipe is 13 inches. Height and other measurements remain as noted above.

A Dirty Gourd Calabash Brought Back to Life


Blog by Steve Laug

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

New Life for a Small Gourd Calabash with a Porcelain Bowl and a Bakelite Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from a group of pipes that Jeff picked up on a recent pipe hunt in Utah. It is an older Gourd Calabash that is in decent condition. It is has a nickel band that has faux hallmarks that identify it as an American made calabash. The gourd portion of the pipe is in good shape other than a damaged spot on the left side toward the bottom of the gourd. It is almost as if the top layer of the gourd had bubbled and peeled. The gourd has a great mix of colours that darken toward the shank end. The cup/bowl portion is made of porcelain rather than meerschaum. It was dirty and had some buildup of tars on the inner edge. The walls of the bowl had a thin cake build up on the surface. The finish was dirty with dust ground into the gourd and some oxidation on the band on the shank end. The taper stem was made of Bakelite and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides. The button edge was worn down and would need to be recut.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it. He took photos of the porcelain bowl and rim top to show cake in the bowl and the lava on the inner edge of the bowl. The edge looked rough but should clean up very easily. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the colours around the exterior of the gourd. It is a beauty under the grime and dust.    The stamping on the nickel band is shown in the photo below. It looks very good and readable. It is a classic set of faux hallmarks that I have found present on American made pipes. Jeff captured the overall look in the first photo followed by some closer photos of sections of the stamp so you can read it.He removed the stem from the shank and took photos. They both show the inset bone tenon in the stem. The alignment in the gourd shank is perfect and the threads in the shank look very good.   There was nothing about the pipe that gave me any clues as to the manufacture of the pipe. It is well made would be a great looking piece once it was restored. I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had carried out his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had carefully scraped the walls of the porcelain bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl, shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very good when I received it.  I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. The rim top and edges look very good. The bowl is clean. The stem came out looking quite good. There are some tooth marks and chatter on both sides and some remaining oxidation.   I took a photo of the band on the shank to show the hallmarks. They are as pictured above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe. Since the bowl was in such excellent condition I started the restoration by rubbing the gourd calabash down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the gourd with my fingertips to clean, enliven and preserve the exterior of the bowl. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The gourd really comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I recut the button edge with a file to redefine the sharp edge. I sanded the stem to remove the tooth marks and chatter from both sides with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   I rubbed the bone tenon down with Vaseline to lubricate it and make screwing it in easier. This Porcelain Bowled Gourd Calabash is a beautiful little pipe that is in remarkable shape. The Gourd looks very good with the coloration that has happened with it and the amber coloured Bakelite bent taper stem. Combination of colours of the white porcelain, golden gourd, silver coloured band and the amber stem looks very good. The cleaned up really well and it looks good for its age. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Gourd Calabash is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 2 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your rack. Thanks for your time.