Tag Archives: Jacek A. Rochacki articles

Georg Jensen Pipe Brochure – Jacek A. Rochacki


It is great to have Jacek back and once more he provides us with great piece of tobacciana, pipe history with his scans of a Georg Jensen piece. In years past I have hunted for such information to help identify some of the Jensen pipes that I have come across. There was next to nothing available to help me in my quest. So, I for one say thank you to Jacek for providing this for us.

I did not find any booklets or pamphlets with pictures of Georg Jensen* pipes at Chris Keene’s Pipe Pages. All I found on the internet was this nice brochure from ca.1970: http://www.danishpipemakers.com/pdf/Georg-Jensen.pdf

So I thought that this modest pamphlet that I got in 1970 in Copenhagen might be useful for those of us who are interested in Georg Jensen pipes.
——
* “our” Georg Jensen – the pipe maker is not this famous Georg Jensen – Danish designer, silversmith and sculptor. More info is available here: http://thepipesmoker.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/old-george/
G Jensen pipes 1

G Jensen pipes 2

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A Danish Pipe Magazine STOP – articles provided by Jacek A. Rochacki


In correspondence with Jacek he spoke to me about a magazine that he had in his possession called STOP. It is a Danish Pipe Magazine with what sounded like some exceedingly interesting articles. It is written in Danish and I would love to have some of our Danish readers translate some of the articles that are included in these scans that Jacek sent.

Here is part of the email Jacek sent me with the magazine portions attached. In it he spells out what he included in his scans of the magazine pages.

I acquired this free copy No 31, April 1970, 7th year of existence of the STOP in late summer 1970 in Copenhagen, if I remember correctly in famous Pipe House W. Ø. Larsen, where I was a frequent, and I think welcome visitor during my trips to Denmark. I scanned at the best of my present technical possibilities 9 pictures. First two show front cover and next/following two pages. Then on pages 21 and 22 there is text on Anne Julie. Then at page 24 begins text on once famous Lillehammer pipes – G. Larsen – founded by Gudbrand Larsen in town Lillehammer in Norway. In July 1970 I received as gift of friendship in Uppsala, Sweden, the G.L. Lillehammer Best Make, Topper shape that I have kept up to now. The Lillehammer and Norway story continues on the next pages. At the end, after page 46 I enclose picture/scan of the back cover. If you think that despite Danish language it may be of interest to friends on your blog, then please make choice of what I am sending or publish all these documents. I hope that this email letter with attachments is not “too heavy” and will not block your inbox.
STOP front cover

STOP page 3

STOP page 46

STOP pages 20, 21

STOP pages 22,23

STOP pages 24,25

STOP pages 26, 27

STOP pages 28,29

STOP back cover

Again, if any of our Danish friends would like to provide a translation of these articles for our non-Danish speaking readers that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Jacek for providing this great magazine.

An Old envelope – empty, but still full of memories – Jacek A Rochacki


I see, that I have become more and more talkative, maybe it is caused by age, maybe I feel more and more at home with friends… So posting my comment below Steve’s story on the Fairhaven Smoke Shop I mentioned old envelope with address: Mr. Charles Rattray, Tobacco Blender, PERTH, Scotland. Encouraged by kind suggestion by Mark Domingues I am enclosing picture of this envelope.
Rattray envelope
Browsing on Steve’s blog I found with joy the publication of an old Rattray’s Booklet on Tobacco Blending https://rebornpipes.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/charles-rattrays-of-perth-catalogue/ So all the more I would like to continue with following story connected with Rattrays.

Rattray’s is known as a manufacturer of pipe tobaccos, which are now manufactured in Germany, but names of blends like Marlin Flake, Old Gowrie, Hal o’the Wynd remain the same. Beside this “tobacco aspect” Rattray is the family name of an old Scottish historical family, and their house is the Craighall Castle by the town of Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Scotland. The Craighall Castle like many other castles has a big clock in the castle’s tower. The clock demanded regular maintenance. In “my” time there this service was provided by clock and watch specialist – a watchmaker, whom I happen to know.

During one of my visits to Scotland this watch and clock specialist invited me to join him on his next visit to the castle. We entered the hall and I was surprised to see many photos of soldiers in uniforms with well known to me Polish distinctions and badges from the time of WWII. Soon I learned that the Craighall Castle, like many other locations in Scotland, was at the time of WWII converted to a hospital and convalescent centre for the Polish wounded soldiers. Many men in uniforms shown in photos were smoking short pipes – bulldogs or lovats, which, as I remember from stories, were popular with some military formations. On the wall there was a marble plate with the Polish Eagle, badges of some Polish military formations and words of gratitude to the people of Blairgowrie, Rattray and district, in commemoration of their hospitality.

Then our host – the Right Honorable Rattray appeared who, after complimenting my acquaintance for his clock service, kindly offered us a nice cup of tea. I was so surprised by seeing one more sign of Polish presence in Scotland that I simply forgot to ask our host, if his respectable family had any kind of connection with the well known tobacco brand.

On Making a Comoy’s “C” Logo – Jacek A. Rochacki


Blog by Jacek A. Rochacki

It is a pleasure to present this third article by Jacek Rochacki. In this article he is responding to a request that came up from several articles here on the blog about restoring Comoy’s pipes. In several of those pipes, particularly the Lumberman pipes, the stems were replacements. Jacek asked about putting the C logo on them. In this piece he gives the step by step procedure for inserting the C logo on a stem. Thank you Jacek for a helpful and timely article. It is greatly appreciated.

Let us begin from excerpt from A HISTORY OF COMOY’S AND A GUIDE TOWARD DATING THE PIPES, by Derek Green. It is published in Pipedia, unfortunately Derek’s internet pages do not exist anymore http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=A_History_Of_Comoy%27s_and_A_Guide_Toward_Dating_the_Pipes&action=edit

Inlaid “C”
“C” was first inlaid in the side of the mouthpiece around 1919. This was a complex inlay needing three drillings. First, a round white inlay was inserted, then the centre of the white was drilled out, and a smaller round black inlay was inserted. Finally, another drilling was made to remove the open part of the “C,” and an even smaller black inlay was inserted. This inlaid “C,” known as the “three-piece C,” was continued until the Cadogan era in the 1980s. However, the “C” in the 1920s and early 30s was much thinner and more delicate than the one post-war. Cadogan first changed the “C” to a single drilling with an inlay that had the “C” in the centre, and more recently it became a laser imprint. I have a cased pair of early 1920’ “Par Excellence” where the “C” is on top of the mouthpiece.

“Three piece C” on one of my Comoy’s

“Three piece C” on one of my Comoy’s

“Three piece C” originally published at the late Derek Green’s pages (sadly no longer existing today), the three elements are better visible here. Cracks on the letter “C” may be a subject for more detailed discussion; we remember such cracks in some old enameled objects, or in inlays of bone or ivory.

“Three piece C” originally published at the late Derek Green’s pages (sadly no longer existing today), the three elements are better visible here. Cracks on the letter “C” may be a subject for more detailed discussion; we remember such cracks in some old enameled objects, or in inlays of bone or ivory.

In order to follow this procedure the following essential tools are necessary:
– drill bit with sharp cutting edges of diameter corresponding with outer diameter of our “C” to be. I call it drill bit No. 1.
– drill bit with sharp cutting edges of diameter corresponding with inner diameter of our “C” to be. Let it be drill bit No. 2.
– drill bit with sharp cutting edges of diameter corresponding with diameter of this smaller black inlay that will remove the open part of the “C”. Let it be drill bit No. 3.
And: a jeweler’s frame saw, files, sandpapers, needle point marker, a drilling device possibly with regulation of rotation speed. Other tools like cutters, scraper, drills of other length and diameters may be of use. An old fashioned hand drill may be helpful because some operations on some materials should be performed at a very low speed.

First mark centre of our “C” to be. I do this using an ordinary needle fixed in a wooden handle but with tip slightly rounded. I heat the tip evenly with an ordinary lighter (I have been pipe smoker for years) and with this hot tip I mark a tiny hole, not deep, say, 0.2 mm. This centre mark will “guide” drill bit no.1. Just a few comments regarding drill bits: instead of using drill bits with ordinary/universal cutting edges shape there are other options that work well. Drill bits used in woodworking with “pilot” tip on them (brad point bits or dowelling bits) and Forstner bits of the correct diameter will work.

Brad point bits

Brad point bits

Forstner bit

Forstner bit

Another method would be to drill “preliminary” hole with a thin drill bit (say 1.2 – 2.0 mm) and then continue drilling with a cutter like the one below used by jewelers/stone setters for setting precious stones.

Diamond setting cutter

Diamond setting cutter

Yet another way of drilling the holes would be to use cylindrically shaped cutter after drilling the “preliminary” hole. This “preliminary” hole should be just a little smaller than the outside diameter of the “C” we are making. The diameter of our cylindrical cutter must be exactly the same diameter as that of the outside of our “C”.

Cylindrical cutters

Cylindrical cutters

When we say “drilling” we have an understood association with a drilling machine. While that is true, let us stop here for a moment. What is a drill bit? It is just a cutter of specific shape, normally used for making holes. If we agree that it is some kind of cutter, then drilling is one of numerous processes within category of machining. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machining In our case we want to remove the material that we need in order to insert the “C” in a controlled way (subtractive manufacturing).

So the tool must be of proper shape and in best working condition = sharp! It would be going too far in this article to give a precise description on sharpening and maintenance of drills, but let us remember the necessity of using drill bits in best working condition. Basic information on drills including terminology is given on this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drill_bit#Twist_drill_bits

In some situations it is not necessary to operate drill bits or cutters with a drill/drilling device. If the bit is sharp and properly maintained etc., and we work with soft materials like vulcanite etc., it is sometimes OK to operate the drill bit with your fingers. The hole is created by drilling results from the sharpness and the right shape of cutting edges, not by using force. It is like carving with knife: the better and sharper the blade, the less force has to be employed.

When the hole is done/bored, we have to make the round white element to be inlaid. Ideally that would be a white vulcanite/material identical or well matching physical properties of the material of our stem, but I do not know if it is available today. Perhaps it might be found from this site: http://shop.hermanns.dk/group.asp?group=20

The best course would be to find a dealer who provides vulcanite in rods. If the diameter of the rod is bigger then what is needed, it is an easy job to thin it to our desired dimension by fixing a short piece in jaws of our drill (fixed in solid “horizontal stand) or in jaws that are fixed to our grinding/polishing machine, turn it on and while it turns use sandpaper to achieve required result. (I do not intend to convince all of us to begin learning simple turning – maybe we shall return to subject of turning vulcanite on another occasion, but a simple drill fixed in a horizontal stand, powered by electricity may serve as improvised lathe/turning machine!) .

When I had problems obtaining white vulcanite I remembered that it was available in acrylic. Acrylic is available in plates, rods, other forms. http://www.acrylite-shop.com/US/us/index.htm White opaque acrylic also works. If I had problems finding the required material in rods I use plates/sheets with a thickness of more than 3 mm. I cut the small disk of the required diameter with my trained, “sure” hand using a piercing saw or an even better idea would be to use a drill bit in the form of a short steel tube “crowned” with teeth, of inner diameter corresponding with diameter of the hole to be filled. It is the drill bit that reminds me of a hole saw bit without the “pilot” bit in the center.

Original hole saw bit with “pilot”

Original hole saw bit with “pilot”

At that time I was working and in constant touch with tool maker so I had my special tools custom made. But later in a distant place, in an improvised workshop, when I was in need of using such tool, I went to metal scrap and found a short piece of tube of hard metal of right diameter for my purpose. Steel would be good, but I learned that brass will also do because vulcanite and acrylic are soft materials. Using a jeweler’s triangular shaped needle file I made teeth, filed them to proper sharp cutting profiles and I had the “tube drill bit” that I need. Using this tool I was able to cut regular round elements.

These pictures give a better orientation to the shape of  cutting top/“crown” so please, do not pay attention to the “body” of this tubular cutting tool. Sorry, I am far away from my own workshop and tools so I don’t have exact photos of tools that I write about.

These pictures give a better orientation to the shape of cutting top/“crown” so please, do not pay attention to the “body” of this tubular cutting tool. Sorry, I am far away from my own workshop and tools so I don’t have exact photos of tools that I write about.

When I had finished making the disk/”peg”/round filling element I glued it in the hole and the first part of the work was done.

And one more thing: acrylic is also available in form of powder that is offered with hardener and creates solid material. This technique came to be popular in artistic silver jewelry during ’70s. So this provides another option. You would fill our hole with white acrylic powder, use the hardening liquid and precisely fill up our hole. Attention: some of these materials are of an “aggressive” nature. They sort of “melt in” the “walls” of places to be filled, thus the circle does not have a clean straight line/border but the line/border will look “shadowed”. Keeping this in mind I suggest that you get all the necessary information from the manufacturer or competent dealer on how the “border” between the filling and “mother” material will end up.

Continuing this idea: There are so called cold enamels used in contemporary cheap jewelry or sometimes in repairing objects that were enameled. And other colored artificial materials, some of them are hardened with ultra violet rays. Information on these products can be found here http://www.gesswein.com/p-896-colorit-set.aspx The site may give some orientation regarding this matter.

When our “white large spot” is ready (of course after the filling is hardened or, if glued the glue has created a solid “binding” we have to level it up with files and sanding and buffing etc.) we find and mark the precise center and make another hole by drill bit of proper diameter that I call drill bit No. 2. Then make a black ebonite (or other material the identical color of the stem) “peg”, mini disk or other element for filling using one of techniques mentioned above. This should give you a nice inlay of a white circle on the stem. Then again it involves sanding, buffing etc. to make the surface smooth.

Then mark precisely the place on the right side of the inlaid circle for using drill bit No. 3. Drill the hole and with another very small diameter pin or disk, using one of techniques described above, we “open” the circle giving it the shape of letter C. Then after the final sanding, buffing etc. voila – our inlaid C should be ready.

But it is possible to approach the subject in a slightly different way. Let us return to the beginning when we were drilling larger hole by drill bit No. 1. Remember what I said above on “tube”, or “tubular drill bits”. There may be a way to find the tube of hard metal of diameters exactly matching inside and outside diameters of our “C” and of walls of thickness corresponding with thickness of our “C”. In old metalsmithing/goldsmithing/silversmithing/coppersmithing etc. metal handicraft workshops we made short tubes ourselves using so called draw plates and draw tongs or a simple hand powered machine named draw bench. I say this as curiosity, I am far from trying to convince us all to become goldsmiths/metalsmiths, but perhaps a goldsmith performing old style handicraft – if such still exists – would make short piece of tube of brass of requested dimensions. When we have our improvised, but ideal dimensioned “tube drill bit” it should be not too difficult to bore/”carve” the approximately +2 mm deep (of depth) circle of dimensions of our “C” to be. The groove should be filled with powered acrylic or, perhaps better (I mentioned about some “aggressive” acrylics in form of powder) an element made of solid white material.

I would proceed as follows: I would cut/make this white strip of width larger than the depth of the groove taking into consideration the fact that our grooved “O” is carved on a concave surface. The thickness of this white strip should be of width of our groove – the final thickness of the letter “C”. Then I would “soften” this strip with hot water, steam or a heat gun, so that I could form it by using jeweler’s pliers with round conical tips or using as sort of mandrel piece of metal wire of proper diameter. Bicycle or motorcycle spokes of different diameters make very useful mandrels of small diameters. Using these tools I would shape the white strip in the form of circle/ring fitting the carved circle groove and I would glue it in place. After leveling operations such as filling, sanding, buffing etc., I would make the opening of this “O” to make required “C” out of it as I described above.

It would be easier to find a tube of white appropriate material (acrylite) of dimension that is set/determined by our circular groove – maybe something like a cocktail straw – but I am aware that chances are small, so I mention it just for completing indication /description of possible ways of proceeding.

All this is OK from the technical point of view, but there is another aspect to consider. This is the aspect of the authenticity of signature or logo. When making copy of an original there are ways of “marking” the final product so that it is clear that our work is a copy and not a falsification. One of ways of such “marking” is to make a small change of dimensions in comparison to original. Here our wish of having a “clear conscience” meets the eventual problems of finding drill bits and materials in rods of dimensions that correspond exactly with dimensions of original “C” on Comoy’s pipes. I believe that this is one of situations where these two aspects meet and stay together in harmony.

Some remarks on dealing with damaged stems of smoking pipes by Jacek A. Rochacki


Blog by Jacek A. Rochacki

This is Jacek’s second article on pipe repairs. I appreciate the slant that Jacek brings to the work of pipe refurbishing. His art restoration background lends itself to some beautiful solutions to the challenges that face the pipe refurbisher that are far different from those that have been used by myself and others as we deal with the work we do. I am very appreciative of Jacek’s willingness to share his methodology with us here on rebornpipes. Thank you Jacek for taking the time to write-up these pieces and sending them to us. They are a significant contribution to our work and love of all things pipe.

We all have known many different ways in which the stems/mouthpieces of our pipes are damaged. Let me indicate some of them: – broken mouthpiece – sometime in the middle, often in the “lip”/”button”area – tooth dent – this is often at the lip/button area and it does not look so nice – different holes/losses, mostly in the lip/button area, often such holes are”bitten up” by willing smoker. – broken tenon (sometime it is stuck/jammed in the shank) Let me begin from few words on materials. In general we deal mostly with vulcanite/ebonite and transparent Perspex (some models of GBD). But those are not the only materials. There are some similar materials like Ashtonite invented by late William “Bill” Ashton Taylor and used in his Ashton pipes; it is a little harder than typical vulcanite/ebonite. In older pipes we often see mouthpieces in yellow color looking like and named “Amber”; these are seldom made of original amber, more often of yellow glass-like material and are hard and break easily. (There are also yellow stems of softer materials like vulcanite/ebonite, and I would proceed with them as I usually proceed with black or Cumberland vulcanite/ebonite). Their tenons are often made of different, more appropriate material for their function, possibly bone, and sometimes such tenons are of screw in type. In some briar pipes tenons are made of metal – aluminum. And I know cases when owner wanted such metal tenons to be removed and changed for tenons made of vulcanite, modern Teflon etc. in belief that these materials will “cooperate” better with briar wood. I mention this not as advice as it is “intrusion” into originality of the pipe but as some kind of curiosity. As a matter of fact I note that even in case of vulcanite mouthpieces there was/is tendency to remove original tenons and fit tenons of Teflon or other modern material. Here is list (partial to be sure) of some of the different kinds of vulcanite/ebonite materials that have been used for mouthpieces:

Ace – American Hard Rubber Co., USA
Super-Ace – American Hard Rubber Co., USA
Amcosite – Siemens Bros. & Co., UK
Bulwark – Redfern’s Rubber Works, UK
Cohardite – Connecticut Hard Rubber Co., USA
Dexonite – Dexine Ltd., UK
Endurance American Hard Rubber Co., USA
Gallia-Rubber – French ebonite
Keramot – Siemens Bros. & Co., UK
Level Chuck – American Hard Rubber Co., USA
Luzerne – Luzerne Rubber, USA
Mercury – American Hard Rubber Co., USA
Navy – American Hard Rubber Co., USA
Onazote – Expanded Rubber Co., UK
Permcol – British Hard Rubber Co., UK
Resiston – American Hard Rubber Co., USA
Rub-Erok – Richardson Co., USA
Rub-Tex – Richardson Co., USA
Solid Rubber – used by some English makers in 1914-1918 years

I have seen these names/markings on stems/mouthpieces of old pipes. Sometimes it is of help in dating and attributing a pipe that is so marked. Remember that vulcanization of natural rubber with sulfur was invented by Charles Goodyear in USA in 1839 and was patented in 1843; in the same year Thomas Hancock patented it in Great Britain. Here is have good source on vulcanite
http://www.seattlepipeclub.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=969877&module_id=16894

In the’30’s vulcanite of different mixed colors became popular in making pens and is similar to what we see in some mouthpieces of pipes named “Cumberland”.

As vulcanite consists of vulcanized natural rubber, it may be of help to mention that oil (like in old days was used in oil lamps) and/or turpentine may serve as solvents, helpful with restoration if needed be.

I said all this in order to point out the importance of recognizing the material that our mouthpieces are made of in order to find best matching material for making eventual repairs to missing elements etc. The practical solution seems to be making one’s own “stock” of repair materials – simplest would be to collect broken, unrepairable mouthpieces. But there other ways: I found vulcanite rods that were used in schools for experimenting with electricity to be good material for fixing damaged mouthpieces. In the field of transparent materials I have been using old fashioned artificial plastic glass (sometime named Plexiglas) that was used in aviation some half of century ago. It is also important to choose right type of glue.

Beside the matters of tenons, I would briefly divide our work into two categories:
– joining together broken elements
– filling in holes or broken areas.
Of course, in practice these categories will “mix up” together.

In the case of a repairing a stem or mouthpiece that broken in half, the solution is quite simple. What is to be done is to use a strengthening/enforcing invisible element that will serve as sort of “hard core” – constructional element. The simplest way would be to use thin tube of internal diameter corresponding with diameter of the air channel of our mouthpiece. “Walls” of such tube, if it is tube of metal, may be of 0.3 – 0.4 mm in thickness. In order for it be fitted properly, we have to drill a kind of “nest”/mortise/”channel” for it, drilling the air channel with drill bit of proper diameter making this “nest”/mortise as long as required by length of our tube. The choice of such tube is important as not only air but also condensate will be in contact with the tube, so I would avoid brass, copper etc. The best IMO would be a tube of pure silver or high percentage silver alloy, or some aluminum like that which was used by Dunhill for his Inner Tubes, just of larger diameter. Silver tubes may be available in goldsmith’s supply places.

After making proper strengthening/enforcing tube and making sure that all parts fit well, I use simple glue of cyanoacrylic type – kind of “super glue”.

A more advanced way would be to make the strengthening/enforcing/ element – a drilled tube/cylinder from vulcanite/ebonite. It is possible to make it without using a lathe, just the laborious and precise use of files. The starting material could be the broken tenon from unrepairable mouthpiece from our “stock” of materials. The “nests”/mortises in parts to be glued should be of larger/proper diameter, because it is practically impossible to hand make the vulcanite mini tube with walls of 0.3 or similar thickness, so the outer diameter of our vulcanite tube will be larger than in case of metal tube. We make “nests”/mortises/”channels” of required diameter using drill bits of proper diameter. If we are not sure about precision of our fingers necessary for hand making short tube of vulcanite, we may make just a small cylinder of vulcanite of desired size which would make/allow parts to be glued to fit perfectly, and after gluing all parts together, drill the air channel from the tenon side with a long drill bit of right diameter corresponding to diameter of the air channel and in delicate, secure direction-wise way, drill the inserted cylinder through the air channel so the air/draft channel will be “operational” again.

Summary: use the enforcing/strengthening elements and we may be surprised how many unrepairable looking elements may be repaired and then serve really well.

Now for filling in holes or broken areas.

The relatively simple thing seems to be filling in tooth dents. I begin by cleaning the surface of the dent with some sharp tool – scraper or blade of size of small pocket knife, better with rounded tip, such as those found on pipe knives. This is to remove oxidation from the surface that is to be filled. After “cleaning” the surface I take a needle, scraper or similar sharp tool with sharp pointed tip and “score”/”draw” delicate lines/”mini-groves” on the cleaned surface. This is the old trick used in enameling for better adhesion of filling material (extender) that will be “put” on the prepared surface. This material is simple and known us vulcanite dust – the result of filing a properly chosen piece of vulcanite, sometimes it is result of filing the stem that is to be repaired, sometimes we may use another piece of vulcanite from our “stock” if we are sure that it will fit well. Then I mix this dust with cyanoacrylic glue making my “filling material/paste” – kind of putty, and I apply it on scored dent. After some time – rather longer then shorter – say – good couple of hours depending on thickness of the filling, I use a file and sandpaper and finally polish on the patched stem – this is known as the finishing procedures.

After all this please, be prepared for unpleasant surprise at the first glance. The filled up area may be of different color than the color of the stem. Please do not worry! It is not without reason that I have mentioned before that oil (like in old days was used in oil lamps) and/or turpentine may serve as solvents that are helpful with restoration… so a drop of oil or turpentine applied on the repaired area and “distributed”/”smeared” all over will turn the surface of the glued parts to match the rest of the stem. When the surface dries, I would return to delicate polishing and be prepared for repeating such finishing operation as many times as necessary. At very end I would apply a wee drop of olive or proper mineral oil and smear it all over with soft cotton textile; this is old method of conservation of surfaces of objects made of vulcanite/ebonite – “hard rubber”.
Jacek1

This was an easy case. What about situations when the lip or end of the stem/mouthpiece is partly broken, “eaten up”, has holes, or part is missing? Please, take a look at illustrations published by our host at the beginning of his text “Cutting and shaping a new button on a severely damaged stem”
https://rebornpipes.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/cutting-and-shaping-a-new-button/

Instead of cutting/removing the damaged part and carving the lip/button of what is left, I would proceed in different way. Keeping in mind my wish of keeping original dimension, proportions, form, I would try to reconstruct damaged stem/mouthpiece as following:

By using sharp cutting tools – engravers/burins, scrapers or in case of better equipped “workshop corner” – cutters, like those used by jewelers for stone settings, or even a sharp pocket knife, a frame saw and needle files I would work on the damaged area making it a proper shape a piece of the same material carved that I will later shape/carve to fit what is missing. The words “making it of proper shape”, may be a subject for another longer text. But as sort of inspiration may be the different ways dentists use to “elaborate” holes in teeth so that the filling will be kept securely in place. In a stem the situation is easier as we have good binding glues and are binding together the same kind of materials – vulcanite/ebonite to vulcanite/ebonite.

When the newly carved material is fixed into the missing area with glue, I work with files and drill bits to achieve desired missing shape. Then I proceed with finishing techniques. Let us look at the pictures:
Jacek2

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In case of stems/mouthpieces made of transparent material I have been proceeding as described above, just choosing proper equally transparent material for making missing parts. After polishing the seams are invisible. I would use fast cyanoacrylic glue of kind that creates transparent seams.

In Steve’s article one commenter mentioned a missing lip on his Peterson P-Lip pipe. Again: in glue we trust: just proceed as described above and if the work is done properly, it should be impossible to distinguish reconstructed lip from the rest of the stem by the naked eye. In general, if the whole lip is missing, I would glue in a large piece of matching material and would shape it by files etc. The air channel can be easily drilled (easily as we are dealing with comparatively soft materials) with drill bits of proper diameter.

I would deal with problem with missing or broken tenon in ways described above, depending on particular situation. Sometimes I use the reinforcing “inner tube” glued in place as described above. Other times I drill the “nest”/mortise of a diameter corresponding with diameter of new tenon to let it fit tight and correct/straight then glued in place. The old and best known method of removing broken tenon from the shank is:
– use of strong alcohol to dissolve eventual dried condensate and/or residues that “glued” the broken part in the mortise.
– take a self-tapping screw often used in construction, by woodworkers etc. and screw it into the air channel of broken jammed part in the mortise.
– keeping the head of this screw firmly in place carefully use pliers to twist it out while at the same time pulling on the broken part. If it does not come out it often means that it is still “glued” in place by dried condensate, tars, etc., so go back to the strong alcohol and please, repeat over a couple of hours or even days.

In conclusion I would like to present some simple hand tools that I find useful in working with pipe restoration. I would like also to say, that for cutting vulcanite/ebonite I use the typical jeweler’s frame saw with proper blades, similar to this shown here together with workbench pin and set of blades.
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Some remarks on dealing with cracks and splits in briar pipes – by Jacek A. Rochacki, Bydgoszcz, PL, 2014


This morning I received the following email and article from Jacek A. Rochaki from Poland. I have included Jacek’s email in full as he gives a great introduction to himself. He comments on his English and does not need to as it is very good. Thank you Jacek for a wonderful article on repairing cracks in briar pipes.

My name is Jacek A. Rochacki – Jacek for Friends. I am a retired sculptor, silver and goldsmith, conservator, also author of texts on history, theory and practice of applied art in metal and applied art in general plus on conservation; my second professional “incarnation” is historian of applied art. I have been also teaching these subjects in Denmark and in my native Poland.

My imperfect command of English has prevented me from writing much, but my sincere wish to help in repair/restoration of pipes and thus saving them has prompted me to write some remarks with hope, that you will kindly forgive my eventual linguistic mistakes. Let me say that this text in much shorter form has been already published in English-speaking pipe-internet, unfortunately it somehow disappeared so after revision I decided to make the second edition. I should also say that it should be rather written in past tense, not in present tense, as I am not anymore active in my studio.

With kindest regards, Jacek in Poland

Jacek A. Rochacki
Skype: jarochacki

Cracks and/or splits in the stem and in the bowl of briar pipes are often repairable; let me indicate step by step how I have been dealing with such problems. Let me begin by dealing with cracks in the bowl.

1. On the very end of the crack/split the tiny hole should be drilled by a drill of, say, 0.5-0.6 mm in diameter. But kindly keep in mind that this hole should not go through the wall of the bowl just should be drilled deep enough to serve as “stopper” preventing the crack/split to continue. This is an old technique known to woodworkers and restorers/conservators knowledgeable in techniques, tools, workshop of applied art objects. In case of the bowl (or shank) of briar pipe it is not necessary to use the drilling machine but you can twist the drill bit with your fingers.

2. Delicate but thorough cleaning of the crack/split in order to remove any sort of dirt, especially to degrease the crack/split itself and the adjoining/neighboring area. I often use “pure” alcohol, say, 98-99%. Then the cleaned bowl should dry for a period of, say, two-three days.

3. When the crack/split and the adjoining area of the briar is clean and dry, I simply use the properly chosen glue. Some sources recommend the cyano-acrylic glue, possibly in the consistency of gel rather, then in very liquid form. I was told that so called Super Glue should do the job, but I use a two part epoxy resin with a hardener, which meets two conditions: it is heat-resistant, and it creates a “flexible” joint. This is important because during thermal operations (pipe smoking) the briar “works” – gets larger and smaller according to the change of temperature.

The two part epoxy resin which I use, according to the representative of the manufacturer of this glue will be “working” – getting larger and smaller when “exposed” to change of temperatures in a way similar to briar. This very glue – as I’ve been informed – is heat resistant up to 200 C/392 F. Unfortunately I was given the epoxy as a gift in two small samples and not the original jars, so I can’t give more precise information. All I know is that the manufacturer is Chester Molecular Company. So when I have the glue ready, I apply it into the crack/split as deeply as possible; the experienced restorer, “clever with his hands” may even try with utmost possible care to split the crack a little wider in order to let the glue penetrate as deeply as possible. Here I do not have to mention, that it is an extremely risky operation, because the widening of the split may cause the bowl to break! When the glue is applied, you have to press the glued bowl in order to let the glue do its job. I often place the glued bowl (wrapped in some soft textile, leather or felt in order to prevent damage of the surface) in a vice jaws and carefully apply the force; a simpler method would be just to use thread wrapped tightly several times around the glued briar. I let it sit for rather long time to dry thoroughly – details should be provided by the glue manufacturer.

Gluing stems pressed by “force wrapping” with thread

Gluing stems pressed by “force wrapping” with thread

4. When the glued bowl has dried, there is time to clean the surface. At first I would got rid of eventual “overflow” of the glue from the surface by use of engraving tools, scrapers or even ordinary, but sharp pocket knife. Since I often deal with a sandblasted bowl I would not go for sandpapers, just do the job with sharp tools mentioned above, trying to follow texture/grooves of the sandblasted finish. In case of various Dunhills that came through my hands I didn’t find necessary to improve the color by staining the bowl. I just ordinarily use a professional polishing/buffing machine with polishing textile mops with turning with speed of approximately 2200 – 2800 r.p.m. with use of (gradually):

a. A pre-polish paste/material (like German Menzerna, or other modern equivalent of traditional Tripoli compound).

b. A”white” polishing material (like White Dialux (ed. White Diamond in North America).

c. Carnauba wax/resin, known to the pipe world does the job well.

In many cases it is enough; typing this text I am smoking my Dunhill ES Shell Briar, vintage 1967 which came into my possession with a bowl severely damaged, and since I applied the procedures described above it smokes perfect, with no signs of reappearing cracks that are repaired.

Restoration of crack in a Dunhill ES

Restoration of crack in a Dunhill ES

Restored Dunhill ES

Restored Dunhill ES

But in some cases it would not be amiss to enforce the glued bowl by applying the element of metal – possibly of silver of high quality – a ring. In some cases it would make sense to create not just a top ring/band but whole “cap”, sometimeswith metal “mustaches” that will cover and enforce the fixed cracks.

Top “cap” and stem band

Top “cap” and stem band

Band with LK monogram

Band with LK monogram

Top “cap” with “mustaches”

Top “cap” with “mustaches”

Top “cap” with “mustaches”

Top “cap” with “mustaches”

Continuing the topic of repairing cracks or/and splits: I know about different metal – often silver – elements, used in repair procedures. They are used mainly in order to re-enforce the construction/structure weakened by the crack/split/mechanical damage, and to mask the place that has been damaged as well. This simple sentence/statement should be a topic for longer explanation; let me just say, that “silver” – more precisely: the two component alloy of silver and copper is recommended because of its softness – thus it has a better ability for three dimensional forming – but it is also (unfortunately) a good conductor and “keeper” of heat. So I would keep this in mind, and always take this under consideration, when thinking on using large portions of silver element to be fixed on the surface of the bowl. The wrong distribution of the heat may result in a burned/charred smoking chamber at the place, where the fairly large piece of the “heat keeper”=silver element is permanently fixed on the outside of the bowl. I say this with regard to what I read sometimes on the internet about the usage of metal – maybe silver – fairly large elements in the process of repairing such or similar damages.

I believe that we should pay attention to the kind of silver – silver alloy employed in the repairing process. Remember, that the higher amount of pure silver (or gold) in the alloy, the easier the process of forming will go (of course after proper “softening” which goldsmiths and silversmiths call annealing). So I am a smith, who, for dealing with many cases, instead of using “Sterling Silver”, so common these days which is an alloy of 92.5% of pure silver and 7.5% of copper, will go for “old fashioned” alloy once popular among British top silversmiths, named Britannia Standard and which consists of 95.8% of pure silver. For some purposes I would use even pure silver plate or elements like clasps, because of the absence of copper prevents the “bad” chemical processes which may eventually trigger out, when elements containing copper contact with condensate and make foul taste in a carelessly repaired pipe. The higher amount of pure silver or gold in the alloy, the more such alloy is usable for forming.

I mentioned clasps. I use them often when repairing long cracks/splits in the shank of a pipe, especially at the bottom of Canadian shaped pipes, when the use of “traditional” silver or gold band would cover part of the signature or, because of technical reasons I do not want to go over the whole area of the shank at the repaired area. I want to avoid intrusion into the markings area at all costs as I am an applied art conservator. But sometimes it is impossible to make a repair band with sort of “windows” showing the signature – the whole area or part of it. I put strong accent on this aspect as signatures/markings must never be masked/covered/destroyed, like in restoration of other objects of art. I make my clasps usually of 0.4 mm in diameter pure silver wire and I place them in specially elaborated/carved grooves/”nests”, always keeping their tops at the level of briar surface of the repaired area. Then I usually cover the area repaired in such way with very thin (0.3-0.4 mm) plate of silver, leveled up to the surface of the outer briar area at repaired place.

Cracks reinforced by clasps of pure silver in order to avoid bad chemical reaction with condensate and ready for fixing silver plaquettes or repair ring with “window”

Cracks reinforced by clasps of pure silver in order to avoid bad chemical reaction with condensate and ready for fixing silver plaquettes or repair ring with “window”

Cracks reinforced by clasps of pure silver in order to avoid bad chemical reaction with condensate or ready for repair ring with “window” – before and after fixing silver plaquettes or repair ring

Cracks reinforced by clasps of pure silver in order to avoid bad chemical reaction with condensate or ready for repair ring with “window” – before and after fixing silver plaquettes or repair ring

Silver plaquettes with monograms covering cracks fixed with clasps

Silver plaquettes with monograms covering cracks fixed with clasps

Sometimes I put my signature, and even the stamp REP (repaired) on it as it should be done in professional conservation to mark change in the original object, or just an engraved ornament in order to make such plate looking nice. This we may consider as symbolic homage to great British and not only British tradition of silver craft, where the way of placing the hallmarks, maker’s marks etc. used to be an important part of the aesthetics of the composition of the stamped object. And I go similar way in case of repair band/ring if I deal with split at the end of the shank. I believe that we all are familiar with ornamental silver rings; some of them may be repair rings first of all. (The following photos show some of the ornamental rings that I have crafted and used.)
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