Tag Archives: Kaywoodie Hand Made Rhodesian

A New Lease on Life for Alex’s Kaywoodie Hand Made Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

Alex has been an ongoing source of restoration projects for me for a few years now. I actually have a box of pipes that Alex drops by periodically and adds new pipes for work. It has been fun to see him pick up the restoration hobby himself lately. He leaves the harder ones to me to work on – whether harder in terms of issues or harder in terms of cleaning. I have quite a few of his to work on so I spread them among the others that I am working on. This next pipe is an interesting older Kaywoodie Hand Made Rhodesian with an almost Custom Bilt rustication pattern around the bowl. The difference to me is that this beauty has some stunning grain in the smooth portions and the rustication is less random and more methodically chosen to highlight some of the grain features. The pipe is stamped Hand Made over Kaywoodie on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank. On the right side there is a stamp that reads Imported Briar. It has been in the box for quite a while now so this afternoon I took it to the work table. The finish is a combination of reddish browns and dark brown in the rusticated portions. The contrast is quite beautiful though a little dull as it has not been used or cared for in a long time. The rim top had an inward bevel that had some darkening and burn damage to the inner edge on the front right and back of the bowl. The pipe had been reamed before Alex received it and really was quite clean. The push stem was lightly oxidized and had Kaywoodie white logo with a black cloverleaf making it an older pipe. There were hash marks and tooth marks on both sides of the stem ahead of the button. Overall the pipe was in good condition. I took some photos of the pipe as I received it. I took a close up photo of the rim top. It shows some darkening on the right side of the inward beveled top. The outer edges look good. The photos of the stem show hash marks and tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. They are deep scratches/gouges in the vulcanite that have filled in with calcification. The stem is also quite oxidized.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. You can see that it reads as noted above.I have worked on a few of the Kaywoodie Hand Made over the years and have found in the past that they were listed as Oversize Kaywoodie pipes. I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what information I could gather there on the oversize pipes (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-kaywoodie-2.html#oversizekaywoodie). I have included a screen capture of the information on that site for quick reference. The basic information I gather there was that the pipe had in all probability been noted in the 1947 Kaywoodie Catalogue. It also made it clear that all the Oversize models are stamped Hand Made.I then turned to Pipedia and under the general information did not find much helpful that I did not already know. It is a great read regarding the history of the brand and its development from the older KBB and KB&B brand pipes. However it did have follow up information in the end notes on the page and that took me to a series of Catalogues (1937, 1947 and 1955). The Hand Made line shows up first in the 1947 Catalogue that was included. I read through it and that is where I found some additional information to help me in my quest. Here is a link to the 1947 Catalogue for your reading pleasure (https://pipedia.org/images/6/61/Kaywoodie_1947.pdf). I have included a screen capture of the section in the catalogue about the Oversize Kaywoodies. I have included that below. I have also included two of the Catalogue pages that show the oversize Hand Made pipes. The one I am working on while similar to the Hand Carved Colossus and the Hand Carved John Henry is significantly different. This one is carved with the patterns but has a tapered push stem rather than the typical screw mounted Kaywoodie. This is a beautifully styled and positioned Rhodesian shape has a tapered vulcanite push stem that fits proportionally well. The carved areas or “worm trails” around the bowl are separated by smooth well grained portions of briar that highlight the grain. The combination of brown stains on the finish makes it quite stunning. Now it was time to work on Alex’s pipe. I started the work by addressing the issues with the rim top first. I ran some pipe cleaners through the bowl and stem and it was spotless so I decided to deal with rim top damage. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the beveled rim top to remove the darkening. I sanded the rim top and edges of the bowl with the sandpaper to get rid of the damage. Once I was finished the rim and edges were smooth.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The polishing gave the bowl a rich shine. After polishing the rim it was slightly lighter than the other smooth portions of the bowl. I used a Maple Stain Pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl and blend the new finished rim into the surrounding pipe.I rubbed it down with Before and After Restoration Balm. It is a product developed by Mark Hoover to clean, enliven and protect briar. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. You can see the results in the photos below. I set the bowl aside and turned to address the light tooth marks, chatter and gouges on the stem surface. I sanded both the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damages to the vulcanite. Fortunately they were not too deep so they came out fairly quickly. I also did a quick sanding to remove the oxidation on the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I polished it with Before and After Pipe Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping the stem down with some No Oxy Oil that  received from Briarville Pipe Repair to try out and get a sense of its value to me and others. Once I finished I put the stem back on the shank and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish briar and vulcanite. I gave the stem a vigorous polish being careful around the white spot. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This Kaywoodie Hand Made is a great piece of pipe history and looks better than when I began the process. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer Bowl Diameter: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber Diameter: ¾ of an inch. The pipe will soon be heading back to Alex so he can continue to enjoy it. I have told him that if he ever wants to part with it I get the right of first refusal. Thanks for walking with me through the restoration.

Restoring a Kaywoodie Hand Made Rusticated Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

Last Fall I took a trip for work to Gainesville, Georgia in the US and during that time had a day free to do a bit of roaming. The friends I was staying with took us to a couple antique malls to have a bit of a pipe hunt. I found a few good pipes that I will be working on in the days ahead. This is the first of them – a Kaywoodie Hand Made Rhodesian. The stamping on the left side of the shank is faint but readable with a bright light and a lens. It reads Hand Made over Kaywoodie. On the right side of the shank it reads Imported Briar. The bowl had a light cake lining the walls and bottom while the rim top had a coating of lava that made the rim top look like it was rusticated or knocked about. The rim top is beveled slightly inward and was probably originally smooth. The carved worm trails pm the bowl sides and shank have angled slash marks across each of the grooves. The grooves on the bowl sides are more worn than those on the shank. There are twin rings around the bowl separating the cap from the bottom portion of the bowl. The finish was dirty and many of the grooves were filled in with dust and debris of the years. The stem had some nicks and scratches in the vulcanite and was lightly oxidized. There was also a spot on the top side near the shank where there must have been a logo insert that was lost many years ago and had been filled in with glue. There was light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button but no deep tooth gouges. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim top and both sides of the stem to show the condition prior to cleaning. The buildup on the rim top is a combination of thick lava and damage to the surface of the briar. There appears to be some rustication on it but at this point I am not certain it is actually rusticated or just damaged.On the top side of the stem was a round spot that I think had originally held a Kaywoodie logo. It was missing and there was a slight divot in the stem. I filled it in with a clear super glue and set it aside to cure.I cleaned up the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Knife blade. I scraped the surface of the rim and also the inner edge of the bowl to smooth things out. Once the rim was cleaned off the damage to the surface of the rim was visible. It was rough to touch. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the second cutting head and finishing with the third head which was the close to the same size as the bowl itself. I reamed the cake back to smooth briar. I worked over the beveled rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rough surface and remove as much of the damage as possible.I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the rusticated patterns of the briar to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it into the rustications with my fingertips and with cotton swabs. I worked it into the rim and shank end. I set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed.  I wiped down the rim top and polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I restained the rim top to match the contrasting stains on the rest of the bowl. I used a black Sharpie pen to colour in the grooves on the top of the rim to match the grooves around the bowl. When I had finished I like the final look of the pipe.I used a dental spatula to clean out the hard tars and oils on the walls of the mortise. It did not take too much work to remove the hard build up. I scrubbed out the shank after that using cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The airway in the end of the tenon was slightly out of round because somewhere along the way the stinger had been removed and the airway damaged. I used a knife to bevel the edge of the airway in the tenon and then sanded it with a folded piece of sandpaper to smooth it out. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine to remove the last of the scratches. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a more aggressive buff of Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store very soon. It should make a nice addition to your pipe rack if you have been looking for a reasonably priced older Kaywoodie Hand Made Rhodesian carved in an almost classic Custombilt style. It should be a great smoking pipe with a good hand feel. The dimensions are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.