Tag Archives: Hard rubber stems

Reflecting on a Few CPF pipes in my collection – Pipes from the Colossus Pipe Factory


Blog by Steve Laug

I don’t remember much about the first CPF pipe I picked up or even where I found it, but I do remember loving the shape, size and feel of it in my hand. It seems to me that it was a diamond shank straight bulldog pipe and I remember it being very old – over 100 years of age. I remember turning it over and looking at the Old World style craftsmanship, the fine briar and the metal work that was on the shank end and rim top. I remember the gold stamping on the side of the shank – CPF in an oval over Genuine Briar. That first pipe I came across was the beginning of a side collection of CPF, American made pipes coming out of the Colossus Pipe Factory in New York. Over the past 7-8 years I have been picking up CPF pipes on Ebay and in shops around the country to add to my personal collection. My brother Jeff also continues to pick them up for me.

It is a brand that has been shrouded in some mystery through the years even in terms of what the CPF initials mean. Some have interpreted it to me Consolidated Pipe Factory while others have taken it to mean Colossus Pipe Factory. Because of that it has been virtually impossible to trace the brand. I have written about the history of the brand in previous blogs but here is the link should you want to go and check it out. In the link that follows I give the rationale and proof for the brand being Colossus Pipe Factory. Give the blog a read if you are interested in the background (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/). I quote the concluding paragraph of that blog in the following as it gives a quick overview of the history of the brand with the mergers and finally the demise of the brand as a whole.

From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the CPF logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB & B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older CPF pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. CPF made beautiful pipes. I believe Sam Goldberger was correct in his assertion of the potential carvers that made the pipes being of European training and the classic shapes and well aged briar. That coincides with all the CPF pipes that I have come across.

I collected the links and various blogs I have done on CPF pipes in my collection and chosen some representative photos of each of the pipes. I think as you flip through the photos you will see the beauty I see in them and hopefully it will kindle a love for the preservation of these old timers for generations ahead of us.

The first pair of pipes that I have pictured below is stamped CPF Cromwell on the left side of the shank. They both are vertical twin stemmed – twin shank pipes. Both came to me in very rough condition. The stems were damaged and repaired with a white putty material and the bowls were very worn. The first one is in the best condition. The second I worked a bit of Frankensteining on to resurrect it to be smokeable again. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/01/out-damn-spots-a-c-p-f-cromwell-double-vertical-stem-bent-billiard/https://rebornpipes.com/2017/08/27/frankensteining-a-badly-damaged-c-p-f-cromwell-double-stem-pipe/The third pipe came to me from the same lot as the two above. Where there both had vertical twin shanks and stems this one has a horizontal twin shank and stem. Like the others above it has the same damage and repair to the stem – white putty to make it smokeable again. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/09/28/bringing-new-life-to-a-c-p-f-siamese-parallel-twin-stem-billiard/. The fourth pipe in my collection is an alternative wood in both the bowl and the base. The bowl is detachable – unscrewing from the base. The polished band and the horn stem are beautiful touches to this unique pipe. If you would like more information be sure to follow the link below and read about the restoration of this beauty. It is one of the more unique pieces from CPF that I have. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/03/restoring-a-unique-alternative-wood-c-p-f-tulip/.The next pipe is a small pocket sized horn shape with a horn stem. It is stamped like the others with the CPF oval on the shank and on the band. The horn stem has a captivating pattern of swirls and striations that make it a pleasure to hold and look at while smoking. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/22/a-small-c-p-f-french-briar-horn-captured-my-attention/.The next pipe is another detachable bowl pipe. This one is a CPF Pullman. The bowl is separated from the base by a brass ring that adds a touch of class. The briar base has a brass band with CPF logo and stamp on the left side. The bent horn stem gives a touch of colour to the look of the beautiful old pipe. Give the blog a read if you are interested, but clicking on the link that follows: https://rebornpipes.com/2017/08/06/repairing-renewing-and-rejuvenating-a-removable-bowl-c-p-f-pullman-bent-billiard/.The next one is another pocket pipe. It has a Bakelite stem and a rectangular vertical shank that sets of a nicely shaped apple pipe. The yellow of the stem works well with the rich red of the briar. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/01/restoring-a-wreck-of-a-c-p-f-rectangular-shank-bent-egg/.The next pipe came to me as a damaged bowl. It is a nicely shaped bent bulldog with a diamond shank. The bowl originally had an ornate metal rim cap that had disappeared long before it came to me. I am keeping an eye open for a replace rim cap to see if I can bring it back to its original shape. https://rebornpipes.com/2013/03/31/cpf-french-briar-bulldog-restemmed-and-refurbished/.The next pipe is also one that came to me without a stem. The shank cap or ferrule was oxidized and green in colour when I started the restoration on it. I also worked an old vulcanite stem to fit the shank that has the same orific button as the original. The fit and size of the stem makes this another pocket pipe. It is distinguished looking and I only wish it could tell its story for us. Here is the link to the restoration: https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/01/restored-cpf-bent-billiard-a-reclamation-project/.The next straight shank billiard also came to with the two above bowls. This one was by far in the worst condition. It had nail holes around the rim top and the rim cover was oxidized to a dark green and was crumbling. Originally this pipe would have had a built in wind cap with a hinged top but that had long since disappeared by the time I worked on it. I crafted a new stem for it and banded the shank to clean up the disintegrating briar on the shank end. It is an interesting piece https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/07/reworking-and-reshaping-an-old-french-briar-cpf-billiard/.This next little pocket pipe has a horn stem and a great looking briar bowl. The shape is a small bent billiard. The band is original and bears the CPF logo and stamping. The shank has the CPF logo the look of the bowl and shank is quite stunning. I was able to work on it and bring it back to life. https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/08/bringing-a-pre-1884-era-cpf-bent-billiard-back-to-life/After I first wrote about CPF pipes I received email from a fellow who had a trio of CPF pipes that he had picked up.   There were two unsmoked bulldogs – a bent and straight with amber stems that he wanted me to clean up. In exchange he would give me the CPF bent meerschaum bulldog in the photo. I took him up on the trade and soon had the threesome in hand to work on. I finished his two pipes and sent them back to him and turned my attention to an almost worn out looking meerschaum bulldog.I cleaned up the bowl inside and out and worked over the brass shank end and bowl cap. I rebuilt the amber stem that had bit throughs on the end at the button and some crystalizing and crumbling on the stem as a whole. I was able to stabilize it and make it useable once again. It is a light weight durable little meerschaum that is a sweet smoke. Read bout the restoration on the blog by clicking on the following link: https://rebornpipes.com/2015/12/25/taking-a-swing-at-reconstructing-and-refurbishing-an-old-cpf-meerschaum-bulldog/.The next pipe is a CPF Best Make Straight Bulldog. This one is a beauty with its silver filigree rim cape and shank end. It is stunning with the brown briar and the orange amber stem. This one just came to life as I cleaned and polished all the parts and did the repairs on the amber stem and silver bowl cap. Give it a read by clicking on the following link: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/02/cpf-best-make-bulldog-with-a-silver-rim-cap-and-ferrule/.Over the years of collecting and working on CPF pipes I have seen quite a few classic shaped meerschaums but had not seen very many carved figurals. My brother Jeff came across this interesting figural featuring a horse and knowing my love for CPF pipes picked this one up for me. It is a true beauty. There are some small cracks around the bowl but nothing that is an open fissure. I was glad to add it to the collection. Even so you can feel the energy of the racing horse as it turns around the tree stump on its right side. Give the blog a read if you want to see more photos and read about the restoration. https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/05/against-a-stump-a-carved-cpf-best-make-horse-meerschaum/.My brother wrote to tell me that this old CPF Giant was found in an antique store in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The owner had told him that the pipe was owned by an artist who strictly used it as an art prop… never smoked it. It is about 130 years old and is a large bent billiard. It is a large pipe – over 11 inches long and similar to the older Wellingtons that I have worked on of similar size. It was a great addition to my collection. If you want to get a feel for the history of the pipe and restoration it went through click on the link that follows: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/25/refreshing-an-old-giant-cpf-french-briar-bent-billiard/. The next pipe was a unique one that Jeff picked up. It is a CPF that was different from any others that I had ever seen or worked on before. It was a briar calabash with a black Bakelite screw bowl/cup. The shank was darkened and appeared to have originally had a band that had been lost somewhere along the way. That is pretty common on these old CPF pipes. The stem was amber and needed some work to bring it back to usefulness. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the words COLON in an arch over the CPF logo in an oval. Underneath that, is stamped French Briar in a reverse arch thus encircling the CPF logo. I replaced the missing band with a polished nickel one to give it a more complete look. I am always on the lookout for old bands and rim caps so I may find one that fits this old pipe. Give the blog a read to see detailed pictures of the pipe. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/06/27/new-life-for-an-unusual-cpf-colon-calabash-pipe/.When I received the next pipe I was excited to look it over and add it to the collection. The beautiful briar with swirls of birdseye and cross grain flowing around the long shank bulldog was stunning. The horn stem fit well in the shank and it would clean up nicely. Have a look at the blog for details but this is one of the better pieces I have added. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/19/breathing-life-into-an-1890s-era-cpf-french-briar-horn-stem-bulldog/.The next little bent billiard is another beauty – it is a chubby bent pocket billiard. The grain on the bowl is quite stunning and the restored horn stem and brass band give the pipe a touch of old country charm and class. Give the blog a read to see what the pipe looked like when we found it and the steps in its restoration. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/20/another-piece-pipe-history-a-lovely-cpf-french-briar-bent-billiard/.The next beauty is a silver military mount billiard. The ferrule and stem cap are both silver. The pipe is a CPF Remington and the grain and finishing touches on the old pipe give it a sense of timeless class. The pipe is in rough condition when it came to me and with some careful restoration it is back to looking lovely. Give the blog a read to see what it looked like when I receive it. It is a beauty.  https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/21/restoring-another-cpf-french-briar-this-one-a-remington-silver-mount-billiard-blog-by-steve-laug-the-next-pipe-i-chose-to-work-on-from-the-lot-of-the-lot-of-pipes-my-brother-and-i-picked-up-on-our-vi/.This Rhodesian was in very rough shape when I received it. It took a lot of work to bring it back to this point. The bowl had a lot of damage and the horn stem was very worn and tired. I did a lot of reconstruction on the rim top and edges of the bowl and tried to bring life back to the damaged bowl without loosing the shape. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/21/this-old-cpf-french-briar-rhodesian-was-in-rough-shape/.The square shank straight bulldog with the double ring around the bowl cap is a beauty. Instead of the usual diamond shank and stem this one has a square shank and stem. The horn stem is very stunning with the colours of the horn and the briar. Have a look at the blog to read about the restoration process on this one. https://rebornpipes.com/2017/09/29/cleaning-up-another-cpf-this-time-it-is-a-square-shank-bulldog-setter/.The last pipe I am including in this blog is my latest addition. It is an unsmoked CPF Chesterfield that is in excellent condition. It came to me from a good friend in NY who picked it up in a recent purchase. The grain and the shape are quite nice. It is a stubby billiard with a P lip style stem. The stem is hard rubber and it is old. Give the blog a read to get the back story on this pipe. https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/29/refreshing-an-unsmoked-1910-1915-cpf-chesterfield-billiard/.With the above pipe I will close my reflections on some of the CPF brand pipes in my collection. Hopefully you can understand what I love about them as you scroll through unique pipes in the above collection. I am always on the lookout for more CPF pipes and excited to find and work on them. If you come across one and want to “help” me out let me know. Thanks for reading this blog.

 

“Frankensteining” a Badly Damaged C.P.F. Cromwell Double stem pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the second C.P.F. Cromwell Double stem system pipe that I have worked on (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/01/out-damn-spots-a-c-p-f-cromwell-double-vertical-stem-bent-billiard/). This one was in very rough shape but the stem was in much better condition. Like other older C.P.F. pipes this one has some real charm that deserved to be repaired and brought back to life. Like the other Cromwell it is on the petite side of things – 4 ½ inches long and 1 ½ inches tall. It was a nice piece of briar, a mix of grains. The silver collar on the shank is stamped with the same faux hallmarks and the C.P.F. in an oval logo as the previous one. It is probably silver or at least plated but I am not sure. The stem is the unusual part of the mix. It has two silver plated spigot tenons that fit into openings in the silver collar. The twin stems merge into one single airway. In the previous blog I posted a line drawing on the pipe showing the flow of air through the bowl to the button. I include that below as it is quite unique to this particular pipe.He took photos of the pipe from a variety of angles to show the uniqueness and the condition. The finish was worn and the top of the bowl had been burned and sanded down by about half of the briar. It was uneven and broken looking. But I think that the pipe still had some life in it. I was toying with the idea of “Frankensteining” the pipe. I was thinking about bonding the upper portion of another pipe bowl to the damaged portion of this bowl. The left side of the shank is stamped in worn gold leaf C.P.F. in an oval over Cromwell in script. There is no other stamping on the bowl. The stem is also stamped on the left side and reads PURE RUBBER on the top stem and C.P.F. in an oval on the lower stem. This pipe is also from the virtual pipe hunt my brother and I did in Montana. The photos he took are shown below. The next two photos show that the pipe continued to be smoked even after all of the damage. It must have been someone’s favourite pipe as you can see the cake that is formed around the inside walls of the bowl. The rim top and edges are absolutely savaged and it looks like someone took a rasp or file to the top to try to smooth out the damage. A view from the front of the bowl shows the damage to the top of the bowl and how it dips dramatically at the front. The bowl sides are scratched and damaged as well.The next two photos show some of the nice grain that remains on the bottom and sides of the bowl.The stamping on the left side of the shank is very readable – C.P.F. in an oval logo over Cromwell in script format. The metal ferrule bears the C.P.F. in an oval logo flanked on the left by the same three faux hallmarks that were on all of the other C.P.F. pipes.The double stem inserted in the ferrule has end caps that are also metal and pressed onto the vulcanite. The stem is stamped Pure Rubber on the top stem and the C.P.F. in an oval logo on the lower stem. The stem is oxidized but it is in good condition.The stem surface at the top and underside near the button is worn and has tooth chatter and wear on the sharp edge of the button.When the stem was removed from the shank the inside of the mortise was dirty and had a lot of oxidation and buildup on the inside and on the stem caps. The airways were also dirty and almost clogged.Once again Jeff did his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He reamed the bowl and cleaned out the internals – both sides of the twin mortise, and the convoluted airways in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove all of the grim and grit in the finish and clean out the areas around the sandpits. He rinsed the briar under running water and dried it with a soft cloth. He soaked the stem in OxyClean to bring the oxidation to the surface and remove the grime. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver it certainly looked different than it did when we picked it up. I took the photos below to show the condition of the pipe when I brought it to the work table.

The briar was really a nice piece with flowing straight and flame grain running up the sides of the bowl and shank and birds eye on the bottom of both. The rim top was basically gone and what remained was very damaged with missing chunks of briar on the inner edge. The angle of the remaining rim was lower in the front than it was in the back. The bottom of the bowl was over reamed. I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl. It was really damaged but it was clean. You can see the chips and missing chunks of briar in the rim top. The bowl is totally out of round and is rough with file marks on the top surface.The OxyClean soak had brought the oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite. It was evenly distributed over the entire stem surface. There was some tooth chatter and marks on the stem that showed up with the soak. They are not deep so they will easily cleanup.I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to clean up the dust from the topping process. I put the stem in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to soak and turned my attention to working on my idea for the bowl repair. I went through a box of bowls and stuff I have here for repairing pipes and I found a bowl that originally came from a metal pipe that had an open bottom. It was solid with no fills and it was one I had around that did not fit any of the metal bases in my drawer. I decided it would work really well as the replacement for the top half of the bowl. It was time to begin “Frankensteining” the two parts so that they would fit together. I used the sanding drum on the Dremel to sand off the threads on the bowl base and also sand out the inside of the Cromwell base.I built up the top edge and rim top of the bowl with a combination of briar dust and clear super glue. I wanted to build an even surface for the base of the bowl to rest on. I wanted the bowl to anchor firmly in the base using the smoothed out threaded portion of the bowl.I took photos of the bowl top after I had topped it on the topping board. You can also see the sanding marks of the sanding drum on the inside of the bowl.I applied super glue to the edges of the top bowl and on the inside of the base and glued the bowl to the base. I held it in place until the glue set. When it had dried I filled in the gaps between the bowl top and base with super glue and briar dust as shown in the photos below. This is where I begin to shape the “Frankenpipe” and bring the two parts together. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to begin to blend the two parts together. I need to reduce the diameter and flow of the top of the bowl so that it would blend in with the sides of the base portion of the bowl. It was going to take a lot of sanding but I think it actually would work. At this point the bowl is quite tall and that would need to be shortened. I took the stem out of the Before & After bath and dried it off with a rough cloth to remove the oxidation and sludge that clung to the surface of the vulcanite. I cleaned out the airways in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I sanded out the tooth marks at the button on both sides and wiped the surface with Obsidian Oil. I was so intent on cleaning it up that I forgot to take photos of the stem work.I still needed to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads but I would do that later in the process.

I turned back to the bowl and continued to sand with the Dremel and sanding drum shaping the bowl top to match the flow of the base. I shortened it each time I sanded the sides but it was going to take some time. I put the stem back in the shank and took photos to see where I stood with the reshaping work. You can begin to see the shape of the new pipe emerging as I sand it. I removed more of the height off the top of the bowl and continued to sand and remove excess briar around the base and sides to blend the two parts together. The photos tell the story. I continued to shape and shorten the new bowl with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on the inside of the bowl using the Dremel with a sanding drum to smooth out the joint of the two parts. I followed up by using 180 grit sandpaper. In the photos below the pipe is beginning to take shape.To protect the joint on the inside of the bowl from potential burn out or damage I mixed a batch of JB Weld and used a spatula to apply it to the inside of the bowl. I decided to stain the briar with a dark brown aniline stain to make the grain stand out on the briar. I would sand it all off but the dark brown would highlight things well. I would not be able to hide the connection between the two parts of the bowl so I was thinking that I could leave the shank darker, the bottom a shade lighter, the junction between the two black and the top portion lighter. It would have a contrast like a meerschaum. I stained it and flamed it to set the grain in the briar. I repeated the process multiple times. While the stain cured on the bowl I worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with the oil after each pad. Once again I was so absorbed in working on the bowl that I forgot to take photos of the stem work. I set the stem aside to dry and went back to the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 180 and then 220 grit sandpaper to remove the stain coat on the bowl. The dark band is not even but it looks really good to me. I touched up the stamping on the left side of the shank with Rub’n Buff European Gold. I applied it with a cotton swab and buffed it off with soft pad. It is very readable and clear.With all of the touch ups finished and sanding finished on the bowl it was time to polish the briar. I really like to polish it with micromesh sanding pads as it brings the grain to the surface and gives the briar a deep shine. I work the same each time – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-120000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. I polished the ferrule and the stem ends with the micromesh pads at the same time. I wiped them down with a jeweler’s cloth to protect and give them a shine. I buffed the bowl and stem separately with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful around the joint of the two parts of the bowl and the metal end caps on the double stem. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil and buffed it with a soft microfiber cloth to deepen the shine on the bowl. The repaired pipe is shown in the photos below. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. In a few days I after the JB Weld has cured in the bowl I will give the bowl a coat of sour cream and charcoal powder to further protect it. What do you think of this Frankenstein pipe? Thanks for looking.