Blog by Steve Laug
This is another pipe that I have taken out of my personal collection as I just do not use enough to warrant keeping it. This pipe was one that I kept from a group of pipes Jeff and I purchased from the estate of Bob Kerr here in Vancouver a few years ago. Bob was a local wood carver and interesting fellow and we bought his pipe collection when he died. This beautiful Rhodesian should have seen more use but it was not used very often. When I smoked it I used it solely for Virginia tobaccos so there is no real ghost in the pipe. The airway in the shank and the mortise were quite clean. The smooth finish and rim top were in good condition. There was not a lot of shine in the briar and the pipe looked kind of dull and flat. The stamping on the pipe is very faint but readable. On the left side of the shank it is stamped with the KBB Kaywoodie Cloverleaf followed by Drinkless, Under that it reads Kaywoodie [over] Made in England making it an English Made Kaywoodie. On the right side it is stamped with the shape number 83B. The finish is a medium brown and with polishing should make the grain show clearly. The rich finish goes well with the vulcanite taper stem is in excellent condition with no tooth chatter or marks on it. I took photos of the pipe before I did my clean up work on it to prepare it for you. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to verify the description above. The rim top and edges are in great condition. I also took photos of the stem surface showing how clean it was on both sides. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is faint but readable as noted above. I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of proportion of the pipe. You can also see shape of the pipe and some interesting grain on the briar. The Kaywoodie Patented Drinkless stinger/tenon is also visible and it is clean and undamaged. It is a beauty.Since the pipe originally came from Bob Kerr’s estate I turned to the original blog I wrote on the restoration of the pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/06/09/restoring-a-kbb-kaywoodie-drinkless-rhodesian-from-bob-kerrs-estate/). It gives both the background of the previous pipe man as well as the background on the English Made Kaywoodies. I quote from the blog below.
Before doing cleanup work on the pipe I decided to do some research on the pipe. I looked first on the Pipephil website and found some information on the white club inlay on the left side of the tapered stem. I did a screen capture of the pertinent information on the logo itself (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-kaywoodie.html). From there I learned that the logo was used until the 1980s. After the early 50s the logo was on the side of the stem.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kaywoodie) and read the section on the rough outline on the history of the brand that links the brand with the English section of the company. I quote:
Again, demand for KBB pipes and especially Kaywoodie prompted another move for both the manufacturing facilities and the corporate offices. In 1930 the corporate office moved into the Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue in New York. By 1935, the manufacturing operations moved from Union City to 6400 Broadway in West New York, New Jersey which, at the time, was touted as the largest pipe making facility in the world. At the height of production, there were 500 employees producing up to 10,000 pipes per day.
The corporate offices were relocated in 1936 to the International Building, Rockefeller Center, 630 Fifth Avenue, New York. The invitation to visit the new office reads, “Kaywoodie is now on display at the world’s most famous address – Rockefeller Center. Here Kaywoodie takes its place among the leaders of industry and commerce.” The move to Rockefeller Center coincided with The Kaywoodie Company’s emergence as a subsidiary of KBB. All of the pipes manufactured by KBB including the Yello-Bole line were also on display here. By 1938 Kaywoodie had opened an office in London to meet worldwide demand. Kaywoodie of London was jointly owned with another famous pipemaker, Comoy’s of London.
From there I turned to a link on the article to a section called Guide to Kaywoodie Pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes#NOTES_ON_.22OTHER.E2.80.9D_KAYWOODIE_PIPES).
English Kaywoodies. All of the catalogs reviewed in this research contained the following copyright notification: Printed in U.S.A., Kaufmann Bros. and Bondy, Inc., New York and London. Kaywoodie Pipe cases and smoker’s accessories were also marked with “New York and London”. The catalogs, however, do not present any information concerning Kaywoodie’s London operations, or how the English Kaywoodies might have differed from those manufactured and marketed in the U.S. Lowndes notes that he has several English Kaywoodies acquired in Vaduz and Zurich. English Kaywoodies are now made by Oppenheimer pipes. Lowndes notes that English Kaywoodies with the “screw-in bit” come in Ruby Grain, Custom Grain, Standard, and Relief Grain grades. The traditional push-bit models come in Continental Plain and Relief, London Made, Minaret, Air-way Polished No. 707, and Lightweight grades. Prices in 1985 ranged from 9.50 (pounds) to 26.00 (pounds). Lowndes notes that the Super Star was a special edition English Kaywoodie made of finest briar with a handmade silver band. Lowndes has two: one from Zurich with a large white-outlined logo, and beautifully cased; and one in walnut finish with the black-in-white logo. A recent catalog shows the Super Star without a band and the ordinary small white logo. A 1985 letter from Oppenheimer states that the black-in-white logo has been discontinued and only the regular white logo is now used.
I turned to Pipedia’s Kaywoodie Shape Number chart to check out the number 83B that is stamped on the shank side (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kaywoodie_Shape_Numbers). The chart gives the shape information and the time frame in which the shape was made. I did a screen capture of the shape number information and have included it below.Now it was time to work on the pipe. The shank and mortise were very clean and a quick run through with a pipe cleaner proved all that was necessary. I polished the rim top and the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the dust and debris. I gave the bowl and shank a coating of Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush 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 set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and water to wet sand the stem. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil on a cotton rag after each sanding pads. But I find it does two things – first it gives some protection to the stem from oxidation and second it give the sanding pads bite in the polishing process. After finishing with the micromesh pads I rub the stem down with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine stem polish as it seems to really remove the fine scratches in the vulcanite. I rub the Fine Polish on the stem and wipe it off with a paper towel and then repeat the process with the Extra Fine polish. I finished polishing the stem with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set the stem aside to let the oil absorb. This process gives the stem a shine and also a bit of protection. This KB&B Kaywoodie Drinkless 83B Rhodesian, English made pipe from Bob Kerr’s estate turned out to be a great looking pipe. The Walnut finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works well with the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished KB&B Kaywoodie Rhodesian fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 49 grams/1.73 ounces. The fact that it is English Made and made by Oppenheimer makes me wonder about a GBD connection. Who knows for sure though! I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the British Pipemakers Section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.