Tag Archives: Gourd Calabash pipes

Refurbishing A Vintage Cased “Karoo” Gourd Calabash With Elephant Ivory Shank Extension


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

About two years back, I had worked on the only Gourd Calabash pipe that I had inherited, a 1912 William Harrison, and posted it on rebornpipes. I had smoked this pipe after it was restored and was amazed at how different the smoking characteristics of a gourd are when compared to a briar or a meerschaum pipe. Since then I was on a lookout for some good quality and condition gourd calabash estates and snagged a couple at very competitive rates. This is the first of the two gourd calabash pipes that is now on my work table.

This medium sized gourd calabash came in its original case. The case and the pipe it housed are in good shape and appears to have been well looked after. There is a beautiful ivory colored band with argyle patterns at the shank end that lends it a classy high end feel. It is stamped on the left side of the gourd as “KAROO” in an oval. There is no other stamping seen on the gourd. The vulcanite stem with a threaded bone tenon is stamped on the upper surface as “LONDON” over MADE”. There are no other stampings seen on either the gourd or the stem. The only knowledge about the pipe I had was that KAROO was an arid region of South Africa where these gourds were grown. However, there was no information on the brand KAROO that was available either on Pipedia.org or pipephil.eu. I couldn’t find any information on this brand even on rebornpipes!!

I messaged Steve and shared pictures of this gourd calabash pipe with him. He sent me this link to Pipe Club of London which had information on this brand and the same is being reproduced further down in this write up. There was an interesting discussion on the band that was at the shank end. The possibilities ranged from the band being made of hardened plastic or Bakelite or bone or even African Ivory. However, it was the evenly arranged argyle patterns that made us think on the lines of the band being of some high grade and quality material. Abha, my wife, took close up pictures of the band and patterns and she got on the task of researching the material of the band on the internet. Her research conclusively proved that the band is an Elephant Ivory. Here is the link to a site that was particularly helpful in supporting her conclusions. (https://www.realorrepro.com/article/Ivory-genuine-fake–confusing).

The argyle patterns that I had been mentioning all through are, in fact, Schreger Lines and the patterns perfectly match the ones seen on the shank end band. Having confirmed that the shank extension is elephant ivory, it was time to search for the brand KAROO.

I searched the net as suggested by Steve and found this snippet of information on Pipe Club of London (http://pipecluboflondon.com/members-pipes/calabashes/karoo-calabash/) and reproduce the same information for the benefit of the larger pipe community.

Calabash gourds (“bottle gourds” – were grown on the Little Karoo River in South Africa by Boer farmers who exported them – cut & dried – to England for fitting with bowls and mouthpieces. The heyday of the calabash was 1905 to 1915 after which the briar began to steal the spotlight.

From the Johnny Long collection PCoL #UK603F – pictured on a handmade South African tapestry. Below – the Karoo brand & hallmarks.

There was no further information lead that was worth following that would establish the provenance of this pipe. All that I can say with certainty based on the threaded bone tenon, oval slot at the stem end, Elephant Ivory shank extension and the information reproduced above, this pipe has to be from the early 20th Century, maybe prior to 1920s.

This time period is just a ”guesstimation” and any input from the knowledgeable Readers on this brand and dating is most welcome.

Initial Visual Inspection
The case and the pipe appear to be well cared for. The case has functional hinges and clasp and closes with a reassuring click. The surface leather on the case is also intact and in good condition. The red velvet internal lining of the case is stained at the place where the rim and mouthpiece rests inside the pipe. There is a lot of debris in the nooks and corners of the case. The pipe sits perfectly inside the case. The gourd has taken on a dark color and its surface is dust covered and dirty. The meerschaum cup has a decent layer of even cake with a darkened rim top that has traces of lava overflow. There are a few minor superficial scratches over the meerschaum cup. The stem is oxidized, has tooth chatter/ bites marks in the bite zone and is under turned to the right. Overall, this old timer has been well looked after and is in great shape considering its perceived age. Dimensions Of The Pipe
Length: 5.6 inches

Height: 2.8 inches.

Diameter of the porcelain cup: 1.8 inches.

Diameter of the chamber: 0.9 inch.

Depth of the chamber: 1.3 inches.

Detailed Visual Inspection
I first dismantled the pipe in to its various components; the Gourd, the meerschaum cup and the threaded bone tenon stem. Here are a couple of pictures.

The meerschaum cup is medium sized and has a moderate layer of even cake. The inner rim edge has a thin layer of lava overflow on an otherwise clean rim top surface. There are minor scratches over the rim surface which will be addressed when the meerschaum cup is cleaned and polished. There are no breakages or chipped surfaces or cracks in the cup which is a big relief. The draught hole at the center bottom of the cup is clogged with oils/ tars and gunk. The outer surface of the cup is covered in dried oils, tars and gunk and towards the rim top; there are traces of cork lining which has stuck to the cup (this is actually mysterious!) at the base of the rim. The gourd surface has colored beautiful and it will be my endeavor to preserve the patina that has developed on the surface due to smoking. The surface is covered in old oils, tars, grime and dirt from all these years. There is no damage to the gourd surface and that’s a big relief. This piece of gourd will look stunningly beautiful and rich once it has been cleaned and polished. The meerschaum bowl is held in place inside the gourd with a cork gasket. This cork gasket was dry with a thin outer surface layer stuck to the meerschaum. This is not a major issue as the bowl still sits firmly in the gourd. The inside of the gourd has depositions of oils and tars and ash and would benefit from a thorough cleaning. The ivory shank extension has yellowed a fraction but is sans any damage. The full bent tapered vulcanite stem is oxidized with tooth chatter on either surface in the bite zone. The threaded long bone tenon is covered in grime and oils and could be a contributing factor for the misaligned seating of the stem in to the shank. The oval opening of the slot and the tenon opening is constricted due to accumulation of old and dried oils/ tars. The Process
I started the process with reaming the meerschaum cup with PipNet reamer heads 1, 2 and 3. I further cleaned the bowl with my fabricated knife to completely rid the chamber of carbon that couldn’t be reached by the reamer heads. 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 walls, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust and also rid the chamber of all ghost smells. The walls of the chamber are nice and solid with no signs of heat fissures or cracks.I gently scraped off the dried gunk and remnants of the cork with my sharp fabricated knife. I further cleaned the surface with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. I cleaned the external surface of the meerschaum cup with a cotton swab and Murphy’s Oil Soap. I further wiped the surface with a moist soft cloth and rid the surface of the soap. I ran a couple of hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the draught hole and thoroughly cleaned it. I set the bowl aside to dry out completely.I cleaned the stem airway using thin shank brushes and anti oil dish soap. I also cleaned the tenon surface with the soap and wiped it dry with a paper towel. The tenon opening and the oval slot is now clean.Since the tooth chatter on upper and lower surface was superficial, I decided to address this issue by sanding down the tooth chatter rather than resorting to the filling method. I sand the bite zone with a 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter. I followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. Once I was satisfied that the tooth chatter had perfectly matched the rest of the stem surface, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. The stem looks great with the tooth chatter nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil into the stem surface and set it aside to rehydrate the vulcanite. While I was working on the stem, Abha went about the task of polishing the meerschaum cup. She polished the bowl by dry sanding it with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. She applied a little Before and After Balm, though it does not affect the meerschaum in any which way, and set it aside. A few minutes later, she buffed it with a microfiber cloth.Next in the process was the cleaning and refurbishing of the gourd itself. Using my fabricated dental tool and sharp knife, I carefully, read that as very (2x) carefully, scraped out all the dried gunk and grime from the inner walls of the gourd. I ran a couple of pipe cleaners and q-tips dipped in alcohol through the shank end. I wiped the inner walls with a cotton swab moistened with alcohol. At this point in restoration, the internal cleaning of the stem, mortise and gourd is completed. The stem repairs and polishing is also completed and so is the refurbishing of the meerschaum cup. Next I decided to clean and polish the external surface of the gourd. I cleaned the external surface of the gourd with Murphy’s Oil soap on cotton swabs. I wiped the surface with a moist cloth and set the gourd aside to dry out completely. After the gourd had dried out, I polished the gourd surface with micromesh pads. I wanted to preserve the patina and deep coloration that has developed on the gourd surface and so I dry sand the stummel surface with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. This is starting to look really nice. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the gourd with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the gourd now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful darkened colors on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. All that remained was the original case that housed this pipe. Firstly, I reattached all the black linings that had come loose with superglue. I wiped the leather cover with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton swab. The color on the swabs should give the readers an idea of how dirty the surface was!! I wanted to further scrub the leather surface, but unsure that I was as to how the leather would hold up to all the scrubbing, I left it at that (remember my mantra… Less is more!!). I cleaned the inner satin and velvet linings of the lid and bottom respectively, with a mild soap in warm water and a soft bristled tooth brush. I was very gentle with this as I had no intention of tearing the lining. I completely dried the lining using paper towels. It now does look nice and rich. To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the gourd and the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of the wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finish the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks beautiful and is ready to be added to my restored pipe collection. When, or if at all I will, smoke this pipe only time will tell!! Here are the pictures of the refurbished pipe. P.S.: The alignment of the stem with the gourd stummel was restored to perfection once the threads of the bone tenon, threads at the shank end and the internals of the gourd was thoroughly cleaned. I rejuvenated and hydrated the cork gasket by applying a generous layer of natural Petroleum Jelly.

Thanks to all readers of rebornpipes who have spared a moment of their invaluable time in reading through this write up and as is always, your suggestions and advice are always welcome as this would not only help me but  also help the new pursuers of this art.

Praying for the safety and well being of all the readers and their loved ones …

An UNSMOKED Etched Gourd Calabash with a Porcelain Cup


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table to refresh and refurbish is a smaller sized Gourd Calabash. It has the stem and shank extension that make it look like it was made by Pioneer but there is no way of knowing as it is unstamped. It is UNSMOKED/NOS but dirty and tired looking from sitting around for a long time. The gourd is etched around the sides with wavy almost hair like carving. The shank extension appears to be acrylic. The bowl is clean other than dust and some marking on the inside of the cup and on the bottom unglazed portion from storage. It is unsmoked and the inside of the Gourd is very clean. The cup in the Gourd is no meerschaum and to me looks and feels like it is porcelain. There is some thought that these bowls were composite but this one has the feel of porcelain. The fancy turned stem is oxidized and has some scratches on the surface from all the traveling it has done. I took photos of the pipe before I started my refurbishing work. I took some photos of the rim top and bowl. You can see the scuffs in the bottom portion of the bowl but it is clean just marred. The edges and cap on the bowl look very good. The glaze is intact and there is no damage. The stem photos show the oxidation in the vulcanite and is coarse to the touch. It will need to be polished and buffed. I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the pipe. I also took the cup out of the Gourd to show the interior of the bowl and underside of the cup. It really is a nice looking pipe. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the gourd with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the bowl come alive again. The contrasts in the etched surface and the smooth portion really gave the gourd a sense of depth. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to refresh the cork gasket around the inside of the bowl. The Vaseline enlivens the cork and gives back it flexibility. The soften cork nicely holds the cup in place snugly.I scrubbed the inside of the bowl with gentle dish soap and a tooth brush to try and remove the marks on the inside and outside of the bowl. While I could not remove all of the marks I was able to lessen them.I put the cup back in the gourd and took photos of the way that it looked after the work on the cup and the exterior of the gourd. It really is a nice looking little Gourd Calabash. To deal with the oxidation on the stem I scrubbed it down with cotton pads and Soft Scrub Cleanser and was able to remove the remaining oxidation. It looked better.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth impregnated 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 and set it aside to dry. With refurbishing the final moment when all the pieces come back together is the tell all! I put the pipe back together and buffed the gourd and the stem with Blue Diamond. I gave the gourd and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the those parts with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I put the cup back in the gourd and hand buffed the finished pipe. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black fancy vulcanite stem. This Small Gourd Calabash with a Porcelain Bowl is light wight and it is ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy breaking it in for yourself. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl (cup): 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 57 grams/2.01 ounces. This is one that will go on the American 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 Full Bent Gourd Calabash with a Meerschaum Cup


Blog by Steve Laug

I have several boxes of pipes that Jeff has sent me to work on over the past months that have some great looking pipes in them. I have chosen to work on four Gourd Calabash pipes that he picked up in several places. The last of them is a full bent Gourd with a meerschaum cup, a black acrylic shank end and a bent vulcanite stem. The gourd was very dirty with a lot of dust and grime ground into the finish. The meerschaum cup had a thick cake and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The pipe had obviously been heavily smoked which reflected on it being a great smoking pipe. The vulcanite stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential under the grime and debris of the years. The  Jeff took some photos of the Gourd Calabash before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and inner edge are thickly covered with lava. The meerschaum has some patina developing. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides and the overall look of the stem and shank extension on the gourd.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the gourd bowl the developing patina on the meerschaum cup. This Full Bent Gourd Calabash is another interesting looking pipe. The meerschaum bowl has developed a patina and the bent vulcanite stem looks very good with it. Everything about the pipe reminds me of the Gourd Calabash pipes that Pioneer used to make. Could this be one of those? Probably will never know.

Jeff reamed carefully reamed the meerschaum bowl and the gourd base with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He carefully scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the exterior of the meerschaum cup and rim top and lava on the rim top. He scrubbed out the internals of the bowl and the gourd with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He cleaned out the shank extension, shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the patina in the meerschaum and the contrast of the rusticated gourd. He cleaned the internals of the vulcanite stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the externals with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the surface and soaked it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it and rubbed it down with a bit of olive oil before he sent it to me. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. I took photos of it before I started my work on the pipe.I took some photos of the bowl and meerschaum cup. The rim top looks very good after the clean up though a bit spotty. There is still some darkening and chips/marks around the inner edge of the bowl that will need to be dealt with. The stem looks good but has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near and on the surface of the button.I removed the stem from the shank and the meerschaum bowl from the gourd and took photos of the parts from various angles. The underside of the meerschaum cup was in good condition. I started the process of cleaning up the meerschaum bowl by sanding the inner edge and bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkened edges and nicks with the sandpaper. It looked better after I worked on it.I polished the meerschaum rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris.I rubbed the meerschaum rim cap down with some Before & After Restoration Balm and worked it into the surface with my finger tips. I let it sit for about 15 minutes and then buffed it to a polish. The Balm really highlights the growing patina on the meer bowl. It works to protect and polish the meerschaum.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the gourd calabash with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket around the inside edge of the gourd. It would make the fit of the meerschaum snug against the gourd and the rejuvenated cork would make it smooth and easy to insert and remove the bowl.I let the cork absorb the Vaseline for about 5 minutes and then fit the bowl in the gourd. The pipe looked very good at this point in the process.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the marks. I started to polish the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better!With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Gourd Calabash with Meerschaum cup and fancy vulcanite stem back together and buffed it the bowl and cup lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finish on the gourd and meer is a great looking. The fancy vulcanite stem looked very good. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 7 ½ inches, Height: 4 inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of this large pipe is 3.81 ounces /108 grams. This Gourd Calabash is another great find. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you would like to add it to your rack let me know by email or message. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Refreshing a NOS/Unsmoked Meerschaum Bowled Gourd Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

I received a box of pipes from Jeff recently that he 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 two unsmoked, NOS (New Old Stock) Meerschaum bowled Gourd Calabash pipes. The first of these is the pipe below. It is a larger sized Gourd Calabash with a meerschaum cup and a smooth gourd. The shank extension is turned briar and is smooth and reddish brown. The stem is vulcanite and is lightly oxidized. Its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ½ 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 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 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 worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the gourd calabash with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.     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 New Old Stock, Unsmoked 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 Unsmoked 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: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ½ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. The weight of the pipe is 65 grams/2.29 oz. 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 Rusticated Gourd Calabash with a Meerschaum Cup


Blog by Steve Laug

I have several boxes of pipes that Jeff has sent me to work on over the past months that have some great looking pipes in them. I have chosen to work on four Gourd Calabash pipes that he picked up in several places. The first of these is a rusticated Gourd with a meerschaum cup, a black acrylic shank end and a variegated gold/orange/brown fancy acrylic stem. The rusticated gourd was very dirty with a lot of dust and grime ground into the finish. The meerschaum cup had a thick cake and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The pipe had obviously been heavily smoked which reflected on it being a great smoking pipe. The acrylic stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential under the grime and debris of the years. The  Jeff took some photos of the Gourd Calabash with a Meerschaum Bowl and acrylic stem before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and inner edge are thickly covered with lava. The meerschaum has some patina developing. He took photos of the top and underside of the acrylic stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides and the overall look of the stem and shank extension on the gourd.

Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the gourd bowl the developing patina on the meerschaum cup. This Rusticated Gourd Calabash is an interesting looking pipe. The meerschaum bowl has developed a patina and the acrylic amber coloured stem looks very good with it.

Jeff reamed carefully reamed the meerschaum bowl and the gourd base with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He carefully scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the exterior of the meerschaum cup and rim top and lava on the rim top. He scrubbed out the internals of the bowl and the gourd with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He cleaned out the shank extension, shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the patina in the meerschaum and the contrast of the rusticated gourd.  He cleaned the internals of the acrylic stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the externals with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the acrylic. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. I took photos of it before I started my work on the pipe. I took some photos of the bowl and meerschaum cup. The rim top looks very good after the clean up though it is spotty. There is still some darkening around the inner edge of the bowl that will need to be dealt with. The stem looks good but has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts. I removed the meerschaum bowl from the gourd and took photos of it from various angles. The underside was in good condition other than a chip out of one side of the pointed bowl bottom. I started the process of cleaning up the meerschaum bowl by sanding the inner edge and the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkened edges and top with the sandpaper. It looked better after I worked on it.I worked over the chipped bottom of the bowl with the some 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the chipped area and round the edges. I polished the meerschaum rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the gourd calabash with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket around the inside edge of the gourd. It would make the fit of the meerschaum snug against the gourd and the rejuvenated cork would make it smooth and easy to insert and remove the bowl. I let the cork absorb the Vaseline for about 5 minutes and then fit the bowl in the gourd. The pipe looked very good at this point in the process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the marks. I started to polish the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better! With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Gourd Calabash with Meerschaum cup and an amber acrylic stem back together and buffed it the bowl and cup lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finish on the gourd and meer is a great looking. The fancy acrylic stem looked very good. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 3 ½ inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 3.17 ounces /90 grams. This Gourd Calabash is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you would like to add it to your rack let me know by email or message. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

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.