Tag Archives: KBB Yello-Bole Pipes

Restoring a KBB Yello-Bole Premier Liverpool


Blog by Steve Laug

With this post I am celebrating notification from WordPress that rebornpipes is 8 years old. It does not seem possible that 8 years ago in May I posted the first blog on rebornpipes and wrote about my dream of the blog being a gathering spot for information and individuals who enjoy working on rehabilitation and restoration of pipes. I continue to do the work or restoration and rehabilitation of pipes because it is something I enjoy. It is a pleasure to take pipes that are a bit of a wreck and with some effort and careful work bring them back to life. The next pipe on the table is a great one to work on as a part of that celebration. It is a well smoked KBB Yello-Bole Premier Liverpool. The pipe was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some tobacco remnants from the last bowl smoked. There was some darkening and lava around the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. There are a few visible fills around the bowl and the varnish coat is crackling. The taper yellow stem has tooth marks and chatter on both sides. Jeff took some great photos of the pipe to show its general condition before he started his cleanup. Jeff took a photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the lava overflow all over the rim top. It is hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looks like until we remove the cake and the lava.He took photos around the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition. You can see the grime in the finish and the crackling of the varnish coat. He took a photo of the stamping on the left topside of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable. It reads KBB in a Cloverleaf followed by Yello-Bole over Cured with Real Honey followed by R in a circle. Underneath that it reads Premier over Imported Briar. Normally there would be stamping on the right side but in this case there does not appear to be any stamping visible.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. You can see that it is lightly oxidized and has some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the button surfaces on both sides. I turned to the listing on Pipephil on the KBB Yello-Bole pipes and actually found a very similar pipe to the one I am working on (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html). It is a KBB in a cloverleaf Yello-Bole that also bears the Cured with Real Honey, circle R stamp over Premier over Imported Briar. I did a screen capture of the section and the stamping on the shank side. I have included it below.I turned next to Pipedia to gather a more detailed history of the brand and see if I could find any information on this particular pipe (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Yello-Bole). I quote a portion of that article on tips for dating Yello-Bole pipes below.

Tips for Dating Yello-Bole Pipes

  • KBB stamped in the clover leaf indicates it was made in 1955 or earlier as they stopped this stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank.
  • Pipes from 1933-1936 they were stamped “Honey Cured Briar”
  • Post 1936 pipes were stamped “Cured with Real Honey”
  • Pipe stems stamped with the propeller logo were made in the 1930’s or 1940’s – no propellers were used after the 1940’s.
  • Yello Bole used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 1930’s.
  • Pipes with the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it were made in the 1930’s, this stopped after 1939.
  • Pipes stamped BRUYERE rather than BRIAR it was made in the 1930’s.

Following the tips above I learned that the KBB Stamped in a Cloverleaf indicates that the pipe I have was 1955 or earlier. The fact that it is stamped Cured with Real Honey puts it post 1936. The field is narrowing down for a date. The fact that the stem has the propeller logo puts it between the 30s and 40s. So now I have it narrowed down to between 1936 and 1949. That is as close as I am going to get with this one as the numbers are worn off the shank.

It is definitely an interesting piece of pipe history. Armed with the brand information and some parameters for the age of the pipe I turned to work on it. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cake from the walls of the bowl. He cleaned up any remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He was not able to remove the bowl from the base so a thorough cleaning of the base was not possible. He worked on the rim edge lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and washed it off with warm water to remove the cleanser. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show how clean they were. You can the roughness on the top and the inner edge of the rim on the front right side of the bowl. The bowl and rim looks much better without the thick lava and cake. The stem looked better. There was tooth chatter and marks were very visible on both sides of the stem near the button. I have included a photo of the propeller logo on the left side of the stem.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. The stamping is faint but very readable and it reads as noted above. The right side of the shank is smooth- if there was any stamping it is long gone.I took a photo of the large fill on the underside and up the left side of the shank. It was hard but it had shrunk and left a divot.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe. I noted that there was a small stinger apparatus that is removable in the tenon. I heated the stinger with a Bic lighter flame and was able to very easily remove it for more thorough cleaning of the tenon and airway in the stem.I decided to start my work on the pipe by dealing with the damaged rim top and inner edge of the bowl. I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the damage on the top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damaged bevel on the rim edge. It is far from perfect but it is better. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked over the rim top and edge of the bowl with the pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris.  I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the even that material. The balm is absorbed by the briar and gives it real life. I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem material is an early acrylic product (perhaps Bakelite) and does not respond like vulcanite when heated. I filled in the deep tooth marks with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I used a needle file to smooth them out and to reshape the button edge. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and tooth chatter on both sides of the stem. I started the polishing of the surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.  With both parts of the pipe finished, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The old KBB Yello-Bole Premier Liverpool polished up pretty nicely. The rich browns of the finish and the grain came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished yellow Bakelite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, well-made KBB Yello-Bole Liverpool. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This KBB Yello-Bole Premier Liverpool will be going on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers shortly. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this older American Made pipe.

Cleanup and restoration of an Art Deco Yello-Bole Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked this one up because of our mutual love of older late 19th– early 20th Century. Even in its sorry state when he found it there was a stunning quality about the pipe. The shape and design of the bling make me think it is an Art Deco period pipe 1920s and 1930s. The briar is quite nice and the rim cap is well sculpted. It has a cast head on each side of the cap. The helmeted head looks like a Samurai warrior like the picture to the left. The helmet flares to the left and right like feathers like that. Under the chin of the head is green “gem” or glass inset in a “gold” ring and inlaid in the bowl. There is a matching band around the shank. Those two decorative pieces on the pipe add a touch of unique style to the pipe.

The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and read: KBB in a cloverleaf followed by Yello-Bole. Under that it is stamped Cured with Real Honey and an R in a circle. Under that it is stamped Imperial in script. The bottom line of the stamping reads Imported Briar. The finish on this pipe was dirty with dust and a light lava coat on the edge of the rim cap. The bowl was lined with a thick cake and the metal edge of the bowl cap is thickly caked. The smooth finish was also dirty and dull looking. The finish looks good under the grime and dust. The stem is a tapered vulcanite stem with an orific button on the end. The fit of the stem to the shank was snug. There were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. Otherwise it was a very clean stem. Jeff took of the pipe to show the overall condition of the bowl and stem.Jeff took some close-up photos of the bowl sides and heel. You can see the cast Samurai head and the inset “gems”. It is dirty and tarnished with a lot of oily tars inserted in the twin rings around the bowl and around the inset gems. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is clear and readable but hard to capture in the photos. You can also see the filigree on the band and the scratching on the stem.The first photo below shows the full length and profile of the vulcanite stem. The next two photos show the surface of the top and underside of the stem. You can see the light tooth marks and chatter both on the button surface and on the blade itself.I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html) and captured the following screen. In it the key point is that KBB (Kaufman Brothers & Bondy) expanded their lines by adding the Yello-Bole line in 1932. That helps to date this pipe a bit. From this I knew that the pipe was issued after 1932. It also shows the stamping Cured with Real Honey.I turned then to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Yello-Bole) to see if I could pin down the date with a little more clarity. I quote two pertinent parts of the article below:

In 1932 Kaufman Brothers & Bondy (KB&B), est. 1851, expanded their program consisting of KB&B pipes, Reiss-Premier and Kaywoodie as the mainstay brand by introducing the Yello-Bole line. Yello-Bole was designed as an outlet for lower grade briar not used in Kaywoodie production…

Tips for Dating Yello-Bole Pipes

  • KBB stamped in the clover leaf indicates it was made in 1955 or earlier as they stopped this stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank.
  • Pipes from 1933-1936 they were stamped “Honey Cured Briar”
  • Post 1936 pipes were stamped “Cured with Real Honey”
  • Pipe stems stamped with the propeller logo were made in the 1930’s or 1940’s – no propellers were used after the 1940’s.
  • Yello Bole used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 1930’s.
  • Pipes with the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it were made in the 1930’s, this stopped after 1939.
  • Pipes stamped BRUYERE rather than BRIAR it was made in the 1930’s.

I have highlighted the two lines in the dating article that help narrow down the date for me. The first tells me that pipes stamped with the KBB in the cloverleaf indicate that the pipe was made prior to 1955. Now I had both a starting and ending date to work with 1932-1955. The second red highlighted text tells me that pipes stamped Cured with Real Honey came out after 1936. This took it a bit further for me. I knew that the pipe I have is made after 1936. The fact that it is an Art Deco piece sets the end date a bit closer. I now knew that the pipe was made between 1936-1939. I was definitely honing in on the date.

I did some more research online to establish the ending date of the Art Deco period and found this interesting site:

In 1937 came the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne. Its emphasis on science and technology decisively, if unintentionally, marked the end of the Art Deco period (https://theculturetrip.com/europe/france/paris/articles/a-history-of-art-deco-in-1-minute/).

With the additional information I can with some certainty say that this pipe was made sometime in the period of 1936-1937.

Armed with that information I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. It had come back looking amazingly clean. Even the stem looked like new. The brass bling just shone. I was impressed. Jeff had done his normal thorough clean up – reaming, scrubbing, soaking and the result was evident in the pipe when I unpacked it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when it arrived. Overall it looked good. The rim top was very clean. The stem looked amazingly good. The chatter on the stem surfaces was gone and the surface was clean.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It was in very good condition and was readable and clear.To begin my part of the restoration work I decided to tap out the dings on the rim cap as much as possible without removing the cap. It appeared to me that the dings were on the surface of the cap. I used a ball peen hammer to gently tap the surface of the rim. It worked to smooth out the surface significantly.With that finished the work on the bowl was quite minimal. There were no fills to repair and no damage to deal with. I took two photos of side of the cap to show their condition. The bling was quite shiny and looked good. I did not need to clean it or polish it.I decided to polish the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth. The briar bowl begins to shine with the transition to each new pad. After the final polishing pad it looks great. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The stem looked really good so I skipped the sanding and Denicare steps and went directly to polishing it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I wiped the stem down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to protect and preserve the stem. This is a great piece of pipe history and one that I can at least give a reasonable date for it making. It is a fancy KBB Yello-Bole Cured with Real Honey Rhodesian with a unique rim cap and band on the shank. The figures on the sides of the cap could easily be a fanciful samurai or some other figure but that is my best guess. The stem is a polished hard rubber that really shines with the buffing. The briar is also quite nice with just a few well-hidden fills. The brass, the briar and the hard rubber all combine well for a unique looking pipe. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel carefully avoiding the brass. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of brass, browns and black of the bowl and stem came alive with the buffing. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. This older American made Art Deco era pipe is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be joining my collection of older American made pipes. Thanks for your time.

Restoring a KBB Yello-Bole Double Carburetor Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on came in a recent box from my brother Jeff. It was another pipe he picked on one of the online auctions he frequents. It is interesting triangular shank Bulldog (Rhodesian??) with a smooth finish and twin rings separating the cap from the bowl. It also has twin carburetor’s or air “nipples” on the underside of the bowl. It is a shape I have not seen much of before. The pipe is stamped with the KBB Clover followed by DOUBLE CARBURETOR  over Yello-Bole over Reg US Pat Off.  On the underside of the triangular shank that made the pipe a sitter it is stamped Cured with Real Honey. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with a 4 digit shape number 4982. The grain showing through the grime and dirt is a mix or birdseye, cross and flame grain. It had a rich reddish brown stain and what looked like a varnish coat. There was a thick cake in the bowl and some light lava overflow. The inner beveled edge of the rim and top appeared to have some darkening under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was lightly oxidized with light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. The button had some light damage to the sharp edge. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The inner bevel seems to have some darkening and potentially some burn damage but we would know better once it was reamed and cleaned.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the nicks and scratches in the grime. The beautiful grain shines through the rough and dirty finish. The photos of the heel and shank show the twin “nipples” or carburetors. They were plugged and did not allow the airflow they were designed for. The final photo of this set is a close up of the underside of the bowl and the carburetors. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping was very readable – on the left side it read as noted above. On the right side you can clearly see the shape number. The final photo shows the Cured with Real Honey stamp on the underside of the shank.Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and light tooth damage to the stem surface and slight wear to the edges of the button.I decided to pause and do a bit of research on the pipe to figure out when the KBB Yello-Bole Double Carburetor Pipes were carved. The stamping provided many clues that were very helpful in pinning down the date of manufacture. I Googled the brand and line to see what I could find out. Here is what I found.

The first link to me to the Kaywoodie Group and a thread on dating this particular pipe. There was a helpful exchange between lifeon2 and Bosun about a pipe that is stamped in a similar manner to the one that I have. Here is a link to the full conversation: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/kaywoodie/dating-yello-bole-pipes-t86.html

lifeon2 writes: OK so there isn’t a lot of dating information for Yello-Bole pipes but here is what I have learned so far.

  1. If it has the KBB stamped in the clover leaf it was made 1955 or earlier as they stopped the stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank.
  2. From 1933-1936 they were stamped Honey Cured Briar.
  3. Post 1936 pipes were stamped “Cured with Real Honey”
  4. Pipes stems stamped with the propeller logo they were made in the 30s or 40s no propellers were used after the 40s.
  5. Yello Bole also used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 30s.
  6. If the pipe had the Yello Bole circle stamped on the shank it was made in the 30s this stopped after 1939.
  7. If the pipe was stamped BRUYERE rather than briar it was made in the 30s.

(Information gathered from Pipedia – https://pipedia.org/wiki/Yello-Bole)

Bosun replies: the one I have is stamped on the left side of shank:

  1. Double Carburetor
  2. yello-bole
  3. u.s.pat.off
  4. with KBB to the left of the above

underside of shank has Cured with Real Honey

right side of shank has 4907

on top of stem is the white circle

lifeon2 replies: According to the list  I have it looks like you have a late 30s model, sweet

I also turned to a blog by Andrew Selkirk on rebornpipes that also added a degree of certainty to the date of manufacture of this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/05/03/1934-35-yello-bole-carburetor/).

I can say with a fair degree of certainty that this pipe is from 1934 or 35. The carburetor patent was granted in 1935, this pipe is stamped “Pat Applied For.” Interestingly enough, it also has a patent number on the bottom of the shank. Additionally, the four digit number was used by Kaywoodie until 1936. The first two numbers indicate the finish and the second two numbers indicate the shape.

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of age of this pipe. I knew from the information from Pipedia that the KBB in a clover leaf stamp meant that the pipe was made before 1955. The Cured with Real Honey stamp placed the pipe as 1936 or after. The four digit shape code was used until 1936. The shape code on this one was 4982 thus it is another argument for 1936. The patent was given to KBB in 1935 so the stamped “Reg. US Pat. Off also places the pipe after 1935. The information that I have gathered helps me to know with a high degree of certainty that this Double Carburetor pipe was made in 1936. The first two numbers indicate the finish and the second two numbers indicate the shape. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. There was still some darkening on the front, rear and left side of the inner edge of the rim. The briar had what looked like a small burn mark on the surface of the left side – the pipe had been laid in an ashtray (I have circled it in red in the first photo below). There was no damage on the inside of the bowl. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks very good and you can see where I need to deal with the darkening on the inner bevel on the bowl. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show how well the cleaning had cleaned up what had appeared to be tooth chatter. There were still some light marks that would be easily polished out. There was not a logo anywhere on the stem and the stem did not have a stinger in the tenon.I started my cleanup on the inner edge of the rim by sanding the bowl and edge with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. This smoothed out any roughness on the portion that formed the bottom edge of the bevel. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rest of the beveled inner edge of the rim and work on darkening present there and on the rim top.I polished the briar and worked on the darkening on the rim top and the burn mark on the left side of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. I was able to polish out most of the burn mark on the lower left side of the bowl. Once I finished polishing the bowl with micromesh I thought would be a good continuation of my experimentation with a new product from Mark Hoover of Before & After Products – a Briar Cleaner that has the capacity of absorbing grime and dirt from the surface of briar. I rubbed the bowl down with some of his Briar Cleaner to see how it would work in this setting. I rubbed it onto the bowl and rim top with my finger tips and worked it into finish of the bowl. I let it sit on the pipe for about 5 minutes before I rubbed it off with a microfibre cloth. I rinsed it under warm running water to remove the residue. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean the surface on the bowl looked when I was finished. With the pipe clean it was time to move on to rubbing the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was in such great shape that I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. The micromesh took care of the remaining tooth chatter on the stem and button. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.  I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The shine on it makes the variations of colour really pop. The pipe polished up really well. The polished black vulcanite stem seemed to truly come alive with the buffing. The unique triangular shaped shank and stem fit nicely in my hand and when it warms with smoking I think it will be about perfect. The pipe is a beauty and it must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it. There should be a lot of life left in this 1936 KBB Yello-Bole 4982 Bulldog.  Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners, we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

Giving New Life to a KBB Yello Bole Imperial 3068C


Blog by Mike Rochford

In the last two weeks, I have been corresponding with Mike about a pipe he had. He wrote and sent photos of it and asked if I thought it was repairable. Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while know that I rarely put a pipe in the bin to burn. We wrote back and forth as he did the work and he sent photos along the way. I asked if he would mind doing a blog on the refurb job he did. He sent me the following. Without further introduction, I will let Mike tell you about himself and then share his work with us. Welcome Mike.

First a bit about me. I am a retired FBI Special Agent of 30 years. My grandfather had a wood pattern shop in downtown Chicago. I always enjoyed woodworking projects, but never had much time for complicated projects. This project was pretty easy as long as I did not hurry each step. Patience and your guidance helped me a lot. I am now pretty confident that I can handle another project if one comes along. – Mike

My brother Tim bought me a very worn out KBB YELLO Bole Imperial 3068C pipe. He knew I loved its look. But its issues were many: gaping hole in bowl, rotting wood on ferrule, bite marks on stem, and a slight tool mark on the crowned our area of the stem below the Yellow circle.

I was prepared to throw the pipe out or just relegate it to a shelf. But I found Steve Laug on rebornpipes. He advised me step by step how to restore and make my pipe smokeable again.

First, I completely cleaned out the inside of bowl down to the briar in order to relieve pressure on the crack in the bowl. Then I used a 1/32 drill bit to drill out the bottom of the crack.  I stripped and cleaned the outside of the pipe and combined briar dust with super glue and filled in the crack on the outside of the bowl. I was surprised that the chemical reaction caused a flash fire on my first try. But I worked through that. The paste dries very fast so I had to apply it to the crack quickly, using a Popsicle stick.  I then let it set. Then I applied JBWeld for wood to the cracked area inside of the bowl. I put a pipe cleaner inside the opening to ensure no weld found its way into the airway blocking up my smoking end of the bowl. I let that dry and set it aside for the evening. Then I used 500 grit sand paper on the outside and inside of my bowl. Once I was satisfied, I applied Aniline dye stain to the outside of the bowl and painted the inside of my bowl with a charcoal powder/ sour cream paste.Next, I worked on the cracked and damaged shank end using the 1/32nd inch bit on the end of the cracks in wood and my super glue briar dust paste to fix the damaged areas. Sanding it after it set.I then used the charcoal powder and super glue paste to patch up the bite marks on my stem, using a pipe cleaner with Vaseline on it to ensure it did not super glue my stem closed. I used some 800 grit sand paper to buff the entire stem clean of oxidation and to clean off excess super glue charcoal powder once it dried. I also used the 800 grit sand paper to clean up the tool marks on my stem below the Yellow circle. I did not have any obsidian oil, so I used some sesame seed oil on my stem to slick it up. I also super glued the silver metal ferrule on the end of the shank as it was much too loose. I then resanded and repasted the inside of my pipe bowl.

I sent before and after pictures to Steve. I am very pleased and thankful to Steve Laug for guiding me through this process. My pipe is truly “Reborn!” Thanks!

New Life for a KBB Yello-Bole Sandblast 2705 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the second pipe that was sent to me by a fellow Canadian for a cleanup and restoration from the lot he had picked up in a local auction for a great price. This one is an older Yello-Bole sandblast billiard with the KBB cloverleaf on the underside of the shank. It has a great looking rugged sandblast on the bowl that highlights the grain. The overall finish appeared to be in good shape though the crevices in the blast were dirty. The bowl had been cleaned before the auction and there was some scratching on the bowl walls. There was still an overflow of tars in the finish that remained on to the rim in the parts that were not damaged. The outer edge of the rim had the look of a pipe that had been smoked hard and knocked out on anything close at hand no matter what it did to the pipe. There were nicks and dings all the way around the rim top and edges. The first five photos that I have included are ones that I received from the pipe’s owner when he emailed and asked me about repairing his find. The first is an overall view of the pipe. yb1The second and third photos are close up shots to clearly show the extent of the damage to the rim top and outer edges. As far as I could see from the photos the inner edge of the rim appeared to be in great shape. The outer edge was another story.yb2The last two photos he sent show the fit of the stem against the shank and the stamping on the underside of the shank. From the first photo it did not appear that the stem was properly seated in the shank. My experience has been that the stems on these older Yello-Bole pipes had an excellent fit but when tars collected around the walls of the shank surrounding the spade stinger the stem would not properly seat. I was hopeful this would be the case with this one. The second photo shows the clear stamping on the underside. It is stamped with the four digit shape number 2705 which is a billiard number and after the 5 is the letter u. The KBB cloverleaf is followed by the classic Yello-Bole stamp and under that it reads Algerian Bruyere.yb3When the pipe arrived I snapped some photos of the condition of the pipe before I started the cleanup. The stem had light oxidation and the yellow O logo was perfect. The inside of the shank was quite dirty so my assumption regarding the reason that the stem did not seat properly was correct. Unfortunately before I took the photos I had done some cleaning on the rim top and edges. I used a sanding block on the edges to knock off loose debris and a dental pick on the rim. I touched up the raw briar with a black Sharpie pen because I have learned that when it is mixed with a dark brown stain I can get a match to the colour of the stain on the bowl. blast1 blast2At this point in the process I used a brass bristle tire brush to scrub out the crevices and sandblast on the top surface. I did this to prepare the rim for restaining, to clean out the blast crevices and to smooth out some of the roughness I have found that this brush does a great job in lifting the dust and tar while not damaging the briar. The brass bristles are soft and do not scratch the briar but make easy work of the tars and build up on the rim of a blast. I scrubbed the inner beveled edge with the brush and it came out looking undamaged. The sandblast reappeared on the rim top as well.blast3I used the black Sharpie pen again to add a dark colour in the chips and nicks in the finish around the edges and the top of the bowl. When that was finished I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain thinned 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol. I fired the stain with a lighter and repeated the process until I was satisfied with the coverage on the bowl. You can see that the nicks along the edges of the rim look very good. The rim top needs to be polished and it will look the same after I have waxed and buffed it.blast4 blast5I probably should have cleaned up the inside of the bowl earlier but as I worked on the rim first it almost escaped my notice. In the last photo above I could see the cake in the bowl and what appeared to be some damage to the inside wall of the left side. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Reaming knife to take the cake out of the bowl. I was able to ream back the walls and the apparent damage disappeared. I used a pen knife to scrape the hard tars that had collected in the shank and mortise. I was amazed at the amount of powder that came out of the shank. It was thick and black and proved my point made earlier about it keeping the stem from seating properly against the shank.blast6I scrubbed the mortise and the airways in the stem and the shank with 99% isopropyl alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until I removed all of the grit and grime from those areas. I cleaned the spade stinger with alcohol and pipe cleaners and polished it with 0000 steel wool until it shone.blast7The pipe smelled of old aromatics and even with the bowl and shank clean the smell was present. I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls and used an eye dropper to fill it with isopropyl alcohol. I have found that cotton balls work as well as Kosher salt does and it is not as messy. I put a cotton swab in the shank up to the entrance of the airway into the bowl as it wicks alcohol into the shank and draws out the oils in that area. I put the pipe bowl upright in an ice-cube tray and let it sit over night to let it do its magic. The second photo shows the cotton balls, discoloured with the oils after sitting 8-9 hours. Once I removed the cotton balls I scrubbed out the shank and airway to remove any remnants of alcohol left behind and set the bowl aside to dry.

I have written about this alternative to the salt and alcohol treatment in an earlier blog that can be read here. https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/10/sweetening-a-pipe-an-alternative-to-the-salt-and-alcohol-treatment/blast8I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the light oxidation and the light tooth chatter at the button. It did not take too much sanding to remove those from the stem.blast9I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. This is my normal routine and if you have been following the blog for any length of time you know that I always follow this procedure with the stems. Between the 4000 grit pad and the 6000 grit pad I buffed the stem with White Diamond and then went on to use the final three grits of micromesh pads. I gave the stem a rubdown with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads and after the last set put it aside to let the oil dry.blast10 blast11 blast12I hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I find that the wax does not clump in the crevices of a sandblast finish like carnauba does so I always hand wax this kind of finish. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and then hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is ready to go back across Canada to its owner. It is a beauty and I think he will enjoy it. Thanks for looking.blast13 blast14 blast15 blast16 blast17 blast18 blast19 blast20

 

Refreshing Another Giant – a KBB Yello-Bole Imperial 3068C Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

When I cleaned up a previous KBB Yello-Bole Imperial 3068C for a reader of the blog my brother immediately was struck by the beauty of the old pipe. He decided he would find one for me that matched the one I cleaned up for the reader. If you want to read about the cleanup of that one here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/11/10/breathing-life-into-a-huge-kbb-yello-bole-3068c-bent-billiard/. The 3068C is a large pipe. It is reminiscent of the WDC Wellington in many ways but to me there is a simple elegance to the lines of the 3068C that are more smooth and beautiful. This is another giant pipe. The dimensions are: length 10 inches, height 2 ¼ inches, outer diameter of the bowl 1 ½ inches, inner bowl diameter 7/8 inches. I took a photo of the pipe in hand to give an idea of the size of this old giant.imp1As opposed to the other 3068C I cleaned up this one was in remarkably good shape. The shiny varnish coat actually was perfect with no peeling or nicks in it. The grain shone through and was a great mixture of birds-eye and cross grain. The Yello-Bole Honey Cured coating still showed on the bevel of the inner rim and in parts of the bowl. The rim surface had some very small dents or scratches in it but they did not seem to break the finish on the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl. The nickel ferrule was oxidized and lightly scratches but otherwise undamaged. The stem had the classic older Yello-Bole circle on the top of the stem just behind the saddle and was lightly oxidized with minimal tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem at the button.imp2 imp3My brother took the above photos and the ones that follow to show the overall condition of the pipe. The next two close up photos show the rim top and inner rim bevel. The Yello-Bole Honey Cured coating can be seen on the edge of the bowl and going down into the bowl. You can also see the small dents in the rim and the light grime that had built up on the surface of the rim.imp4The next two photos give a good idea of the grain that shone through on this old pipe. The front and back of the bowl has some amazing birds-eye grain and the sides, rim and bottom show some really nice cross grain.imp5The stamping on the shank was sharp and readable. The left side bore the KBB cloverleaf logo with Yello-Bole over stamping that read Reg.U.S.Pat.Off. Beneath that was the line stamping in script Imperial. Finally underneath all of that was stamped Cured with Real Honey. On the aluminum ferrule cap there was a remnant of the KB&B cloverleaf. It is interesting to me that while all Yello-Bole pipes are stamped with KBB (minus the ampersand &) in a cloverleaf on the shank both this pipe and the previous one had the KB&B cloverleaf on the ferrule. I wonder if the company made one size fits all with the ferrules and used them on both Yello-Boles and KB&B pipes. The right side of the shank is stamped Real Bruyere over the shape number 3068C.imp6The final two photos that my brother included show the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the vulcanite stem at the button. The mild oxidation is also visible in the photos.imp7My brother did the necessary cleaning on the pipe – reaming and cleaning out the mortise and the airway in the stem and shank. I cleaned off the grime on the finish and wiped down the stem. When I received the pipe it looked be in excellent condition and would not take a lot of work to refresh it. I took the next four photos to show what it looked like when it arrived in Vancouver.imp8 imp9I took some close up photos of the rim and the stem to show the condition. The rim was in excellent shape and Jeff was able to clean up the inner bevel on the rim to reveal the Yello-Bole Honey Coating. The stem photos show the oxidation and the small tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button.imp10 imp11I sanded the oxidation on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the brown topcoat that it had and also worked over the tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides.imp12I used drops of medium viscosity black super glue to fill in the small tooth marks on both sides of the stem. They are shown in the photos below. The small black spots are the super glue repairs to the stem surface. You will note that there were more issues on the underside of the stem than the top side.imp13Once the repairs were dry I sanded them back to the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper.imp14I polished the sanded spots by wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.imp15I wet sanded the entire stem and continued to sand the repaired areas with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down with oil after each set of three pads and after the final set I gave it a last coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.imp16 imp17 imp18The nickel ferrule had a lot of tiny scratches in the surface of the metal. I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads to polish out the scratches and raise a shine in the nickel.imp19I polished the briar with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to raise the shine and smooth out the small scratches on the sides and bottom of the bowl as well as the rim.imp20 imp21 imp22I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to further polish the briar and vulcanite. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to polish and raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It turned out to be a very beautiful pipe that needed just a few touches of TLC to bring it to its fullest. It is another large pipe that would make a great reading or house pipe. It is comfortable in hand and the grain is interesting enough to give hours of observation pleasure. Thanks for looking.imp23 imp24 imp25 imp26 imp27 imp28 imp29 imp30

Breathing Life into a Huge KBB Yello-Bole 3068C Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

A good friend of rebornpipes, Jim emailed me about a pair of pipes that he had that he wanted me to have a look at. The first of them is on the work table and it is going to take a bit of work to bring back to life. The second is the one I just finished and it is a beautiful pipe. It is a Yello-Bole like none I have seen before and I have worked on many of them over the years. This one is a large KBB Yello-Bole bent billiard similar in style to the WDC Wellington big pipes. This one is 10 inches long and 2 ¼ inches tall. The bowl is 7/8 inches in diameter and 1 ¾ inches deep. The stem was in decent shape other than oxidation and light tooth chatter on the top and bottom sides near the button. The button itself was very clean with a few tooth marks but the airway was in perfect condition. The stem has the older style inlaid Yello-Bole logo of the yellow circle on the top side. The stem appears to be a P-lip but it is the faux P-lip that has the airway coming out straight at the end of the P.

The finish on the bowl was dirty and the varnish coat was peeling away and flaking off around the bowl. There was a deep, rich oxblood colour to the stain underneath the peeling finish. The rim was dirty but otherwise it was pretty clean with no dents, dings or nicks in the surface or in the inner or outer edges of the rim. In the photos it appears that the bowl was meerschaum lined but I assure you that it was not – it is merely coated with the famous Yello-Bole Honey Curing yellow mixture. The bevel on the rim shows the yellow as does the bottom of the bowl. In fact, though the pipe was smoked it appears that it was never smoked all the way to the bottom of the bowl and the lower 1/4th of the bowl still shows the yellow bowl coating. There was a light cake that was spotty around the inside of the bowl but it was not thick of overflowing onto the rim.

The stamping on the left side of the shank reads KBB in a cloverleaf/club and next to it Yello-Bole over Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. Under that it is stamped Imperial in script and below that the fourth line of the stamp reads Cured With Real Honey. The nickel ferrule on the shank end is stamped with the KB&B Cloverleaf and underneath reads Nickel Plated. It is interesting to me to see this stamping on the band. Typically the Yello-Bole pipes bore the KBB stamp without the ampersand (&) between the two “b’s” which is true on the logo on the left side of the shank. It simply reads KBB in the leaf. On the band however the logo has the KB&B stamp which is usually reserved for the better quality Kaywoodie pipes of the time. The right side of the shank is stamped Algerian Briar over 3068C which I assume is the shape number.

I took the photos below to show what the pipe looked like when it arrived and I had unpacked it on my work table.yb1 yb2I took some close up photos of the bowl, rim and stem to show the condition of those areas when I received the pipe. You can see the clean bevel on the rim with the slight darkening of the yellow bowl coating and the light, uneven cake in the bowl. You can also see the yellow bowl coating on the bottom portion of the bowl. The stem shows the oxidation and the light tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. You can also see the airway exiting the stem at the end rather than the top of the “P-lip”.yb3 yb4I reamed the bowl with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean the cake back to bare briar. I used that tool as I wanted to leave the yellow bowl coating intact in the bowl to leave it as original as possible.yb5I scrubbed off the peeling finish with cotton pads and acetone (fingernail polish remover) until the surface of the briar was smooth and the oxblood stain coat shone through. I used 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to work on the rim top and the inner bevel of the rim until they also were clean.yb6 yb7Once I had removed the varnish coat there were a lot of dings and dents in the rim and the sides of the bowl. I used a hot butter knife and a wet cloth to steam out the dents. It took some time but I continued to steam the dented areas on the bowl until I had removed all but the small nicks on the bowl. I took photos of the bowl after I had steamed it and you can see from the photos that the briar looked far better after steaming.yb8 yb9I took some close up photos of the stamping on the shank and the nickel ferrule to show what I talked about in the earlier paragraphs. The nickel-plated ferrule had a lot of scratches in the surface of the nickel. You can also compare the KBB stamp on the shank with the KB&B stamp on the ferrule in the photos.yb10 yb11I polished the nickel ferrule with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches. I started with 1500 grit and worked my way up to 12000 grit. It removed the scratches and also polished the nickel. I cleaned out the interior of the mortise, the sump at the bottom of the shank and the airways in the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. The first photo below shows the clean briar in the shank.yb12I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on the surface of the stem. I scrubbed it with the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to lift more of the oxidation. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. After sanding with each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. After sanding with 12000 grit micromesh I gave the stem a final coat of the oil and set it aside to dry.yb13 yb14 yb15I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to further polish the bowl and the stem. I was seeking to remove even the micro scratches left behind in the vulcanite by the micromesh sanding pads and the remaining scratches in the briar as well. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the pipe. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad on the wheel and raise a shine. I personally do not like the high gloss look of a pipe when it first comes off the wheel so I hand buff it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine and give it a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. I look forward to hearing from Jim as to his thoughts regarding this “rare to me” older KBB Yello-Bole. Thanks for walking with me through the process.yb16 yb17 yb18 yb19 yb20 yb21 yb22 yb23

ADDENDUM:

Andrew commented below regarding the size of the pipe. I have added this photo of the pipe in my hand to give an idea of the size.yb1

Restoring an Older KBB Yellow-Bole 2094 Churchwarden with absolutely stunning grain.


Blog by Steve Laug

My most recent box of pipes that came from my brother had this Yello-Bole Churchwarden in it for restoration. It is a long pipe – 12 inches from bowl to button. The next seven photos were the ones provided by the eBay seller. They don’t really show the grain in the pipe or the peeling shellac coat on the bowl but they give a clear picture of the shape and carriage of the pipe. It really is a beauty in terms of overall appearance. It is graceful with a gentle bend to the stem ending in a button that is not flared from the end of the stem but is straight-edged with a small slot in the end. The stem also had the inset yellow circle on the top of the stem.yb1The third and fourth photos provided in the seller’s photos show the damage to the finish and the build up and damage to the rim. You can also see some of the peeling of the finish and the way that it obscures the grain of the briar. The rim is dirty in the photo below and at first glance it looks like the bowl may have been meerschaum lined. I was pretty sure that this was not the case but would know better once it arrived in Vancouver. It appears that the bowl had a light cake but was not in bad shape. It would not take too much to ream the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button.yb2The stamping on the shank is very clear. The shape number on the right side of the shank is 2094 and the brand stamp on the left KBB in a cloverleaf next to Yello-Bole over Honey Cured Briar.yb3My brother scrubbed the externals of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and was able to loosen some of the flaking varnish or shellac. He reamed the light cake back to the yellow bowl coating. He cleaned out the shank and the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol.yb4 yb5The next two close-up photos of the bowl sides shows what the finish looked like once he had done his work. You can see the interesting grain showing through the damaged finish.yb6 yb7I took photos of the pipe when I received it in Vancouver. You can see the condition of the finish in the photos. In the cleaning process oxidation came to the surface of the stem.yb8 yb9The internals of the pipe are interesting. The first photo below shows the yellow bowl coating that still remained in the bowl. This one was certainly lightly smoked to be in this condition. The second photo shows the standard Yello-Bole stinger apparatus that is screwed into the tenon.yb10There was light tooth chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem but the button was in excellent shape with minimal tooth marks or bites.yb11I removed the remaining varnish/shellac coat with acetone (fingernail polish remover) on cotton pads. It also removed some of the stain and brought the grain to the surface of the bowl. I liked the look of the pipe once the varnish was removed.yb12 yb13The stamping looked even clearer once the top coat had been removed. In the first photo below there is a line under the number that looks like a crack or a fill. It is not but rather it is debris left behind by the cotton pad and acetone wash.yb14I ran pipe cleaners, cottons swabs and alcohol through the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem remove any remaining oils. The red colour on the cotton swabs is actually some of the red stain that was inside of the shank. I was able to remove all of stain from the shank and mortise.yb15I unscrewed the stinger from the tenon and cleaned it with 0000 steel wool. I am not sure whether I will put it in or not. I may do so and let the new owner decided whether to keep it in place or remove it.yb16I lightly sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter and bite marks. I sanded it with 1500-2400 micromesh sanding pads then tried a new product that I picked up from Mark Hoover of La Belle Epoque Vintage & Modern Fountain Pens. I follow Mark on Facebook and have been reading about his restorations and cleanup or estate pipes. He developed a product for pens that deoxidizes and polishes vulcanite. He also uses it on vulcanite stem with great results. I have seen his before and after pictures of pipes that he has restored so I thought I would order some and try it out. The photo below shows what came with the kit.

Mark wrote on his site that the product was specifically designed for hard rubber and celluloid but that it does work well on other types of plastics. He also sells the same product relabeled for pipe stems. The line is called Before and After. He states on the website that “All of our polishes are made using the highest quality products.  These products are designed to not only recondition your pen (or in this case stem) but also to provide a layer of protection. All of the products used in these polishes are none-toxic and environmentally friendly.”

“There are two different polishes.  Fine and Extra Fine.  We recommend both as some pens will show more wear then others.  Often one will work on a pen using the Fine polish and finish with the Extra Fine. The polishes are sold in 2 oz jars.  The cost is 12.00 per jar. The number of pens one can restore will of course vary depending on the wear that each pen shows.  I have restored from 75-150 pens per jar.”

Here is the link to his site with the prices for the product: http://www.lbepen.com/apps/webstore/products/category/1185536?page=1. The product can be ordered onsite. It is shipped in a well wrapped package and I had no issues with it coming across the border through the post office.yb18The Deoxidizer is a thick gel that I rubbed onto the stem with a cotton pad. I let it sit for a short time before rubbing it off with another pad. It removed the oxidation quite nicely. I repeated the process until the stem was once again black. After using the Deoxidizer I polished the stem with the Fine and the Extra Fine Pipe Polish. It quickly shined up the vulcanite. Both of the stem polishes are quite thick and sticky. The fine is grittier than the extra fine. It took some time to rub each of them onto the stem surface and then polish it with a soft cotton pad. The second photo below shows the stem after using the Extra Fine Polish.yb17I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffer and then gave the bowl and stem several coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I left the stinger out of the tenon for these photos but it is easily screwed into place. The grain shines through beautifully with the oxblood coloured stain. The polished stem is smooth and shiny with a lot less effort than other products I have used. Thanks for looking.yb19 yb20 yb21 yb22 yb23 yb24 yb25 yb26

 

A Reborn KBB Yello-Bole 2329 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I really like older KBB Yello-Bole pipes. The initial look of this one as it is seen in the first two photos confirms that. There is something about the grain, the briar that is used and the natural patina that comes with years of use that draw me to them. The yellow stem with the inset circle is attractive as well. The Yello-Bole spade stinger that extends into the bowl bottom does not restrict the draw. I had hopes that this one would be in decent shape when my brother sent me the photos below. He had mentioned that the rim was in rough shape and the stem had a lot of bite and tooth marks but the photos did not clearly show that to me.Bowl Bowl1He did his usual stellar job in cleaning up the bowl and stem. The briar and the internals were clean when it arrived. Only then did I see the extent of the rim damage to this one. If you look carefully at the photos you can see how rough the rim top and sides are. You can also see the deep tooth marks on the yellow stem. The stamping on the pipe read KBB in the usual cloverleaf on the left side of the shank with Yello-Bole next to that. The shape number 2329 was on the right side of the shank. All stamping was faint but legible with a lens.Bowl2 Bowl3I took the stem off the bowl and found that the stinger was stuck in the tenon. On these older Yello-Boles the stinger is often threaded rather than pressure fit. I heated the stinger with a lighter and soon I was able to unscrew it from the tenon using some needle nose pliers.Bowl4I took close up photos of the rim and the tooth marks on both sides of the stem. The first photo below shows the extensive damage to the top of the rim. It looked as if the pipe had been used as a hammer. The rough spot on the front of the bowl went down quite far down the outside edge of the bowl. On the back right side of the bowl there was also a deep nick down the side of the bowl. The bowl would need to be topped but the depth of the gouges made it necessary to think of other options along with topping.Bowl5The top and bottom sides of the stem next to the button were imposing. The stem had been deeply gnawed on by the previous pipe smoker. The dents were deep and extensive across both sides of the stem almost obliterating the button from view.Bowl6This was one of those hard ones. The stamping is faint and the amount of work necessary to bring it back to life was questionable. But I decided I liked the look of it enough to go for it. I topped the bowl on the topping board to smooth out the top surface of the rim. This still left a lot of work to do on the gouges down the front and back sides of the bowl. I pressed briar dust into the gouges on the side and top of the bowl and put some clear super glue on top of the briar dust. I put more briar dust on top of the glue to fill in the gouges.Bowl7 Bowl8I filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem and set it on a small wooden lid to dry. I knew that in sanding the stem after the repairs I would lose some of the rich golden colour but the stem would actually be very usable.Bowl10Once the repair dry I used a needle file to recut the button and flatten the repairs to the surface of the stem.Bowl11I cleaned out the airway in the stem and in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. You can also see the lightning of the yellow stem at the repair.Bowl12I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. With the final rub down with oil I set the stem aside to dry.Bowl13 Bowl14 Bowl15I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to clean off the remnants of the finish. There was still some finish and varnish on the underside of the shank that needed to be removed. I was careful to not wash off the repairs as the acetone will dissolve the super glue patches.Bowl16Interestingly the bottom of the shank is stamped Algerian Briar. There appears to be a crack or repair on the underside of the shank but it is not it is merely a large scratch that I was able to sand out.Bowl17I polished the briar bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 and dry sanding it with 3200-12000. Each successive grit of micromesh pads raised the level of shine on the bowl.Bowl18 Bowl19After polishing it with the micromesh pads I took some photos to show the state of the bowl.Bowl20 Bowl21I touched up the stain with a medium brown stain pen on the repaired areas on the rim to blend them into the surface of the briar. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I chose to leave the darkened spot on the bottom of the bowl. I sanded it and found that it was more of stain than a burn mark. The wood is solid in that spot and there is no sign of burn through inside the bowl. Thanks for looking.Bowl22 Bowl23 Bowl24 Bowl25 Bowl26 Bowl27 Bowl28 Bowl29

Repairing and Restoring a KBB Yello-Bole 2070B Cutty


Blog by Steve Laug

I was contacted by Robb, a reader of the blog about working on an old Yello-Bole Cutty that he had picked up. He said it was in decent shape but had a cracked shank that someone had already done a repair on. They had glued the shank with wood glue but when the stem was inserted it cracked again. He wanted the shank reglued and banded. We talked about different options for repairing the pipe and the costs of doing it. Finally, in an email he offered to trade me the pipe in exchange for one that I had for sale on the blog – a Kaywoodie Signature Bulldog. The deal was done and the pipe was now mine.

As with many of the pipes I repair and restore I want to learn as much about them as I can. I did some work on the internet trying to find the shape number of the pipe and information on the stamping. After a pretty fruitless search I wrote to Troy Wilburn of the Baccypipes Blog to get some information on dating the pipe. Troy has become my go to guy when I want to learn information on this particular brand of American pipes. He wrote back quickly with a reply which I summarize below. In it he walked me through the meaning of the stamping and how that helped with the dating of the pipe. His quick first answer stated that the pipe was made between 1933-1936. Here is the main portion of what he wrote to me:

“I’ll break down the stamping and numbers for you. Starting with the left side of the shank the pipe is stamped with KBB in a clover leaf and next to that it says Yello-Bole. Underneath it is stamped Honey Cured Briar. Yello-Bole pipes that come from 1933-1936 bore the stamp Honey Cured Briar. On the right side of the shank it is stamped 2070B. The meaning of the numbers breaks down as follows. The number 20 tells us that the stem is black vulcanite with a push tenon made between 1932-1940s. The next two numbers, 70 gives the shape – a long Belgian and that it was made between 1928/9 and 1935. They made a regular 70 (it’s just called Belgian), a large Belgian 70B, and a long Dublin Belgian 70B.”

I took some photos of the pipe with the stem in the shank to highlight the issues that I saw with the pipe. Not only was the shank cracked but the tenon was also cracked and set at an angle to the stem making alignment in the shank impossible. The dimensions of the pipe to give some perspective to the photos are: Length – 8 inches, bowl height – 2inches, outer bowl diameter – 1 ¼ inches, inner bowl diameter – ¾ inches. You can see that it is a large pipe. The finish was crackled and dirty – almost opaque to the point that the grain was hidden. The rim had a lava buildup and the bowl had a thin, uneven cake that covered it top to bottom. The stem was oxidized and yellow. The stinger was glued in place in the tenon with the broken tenon anchored firmly to the metal insert on the stinger. It was also glued in sideways instead of upright.YB1 YB2 YB3I took a close up photo of the tenon and stinger repair that had been done to show the cracked and glue pieces of the tenon on the stinger. You can see in the photo where pieces of the tenon had broken free when I removed the stem from the pipe.YB4The crack in the shank arced from one side of the pipe to the other forming a closed crack. The chunk of briar had been glued in place by what appeared to be wood glue. The repair was not strong enough to protect the shank when the angled tenon was inserted in the mortise. Each time the stem was inserted the crack opened wide. Because it had a start and an end point there was no threat in the crack spreading upward along the shank. I had two options for repairing this. I could either insert a tube inside the shank thus internally banding the pieces in place or I could use a band on the exterior to the same effect. As I worked on the i decided to band the shank rather than do an internal repair. The thinness of the tenon with the stinger in place would make it impractical to reduce the size of the tenon further to fit in the inner tube repair.YB5I removed the stinger from the stem and broke away the pieces of the rubber tenon from the metal insert. The stinger was exceptionally long and once I replaced the tenon I would make a decision what to do with it.YB6I have an assortment of threaded replacement tenons that I use to repair broken tenons. I went through my container and found one that was a good fit in the shank.YB7I used the Dremel and sanding drum to flatten out the broken pieces of the old tenon on the end of the stem. I used the topping board to square up the end. I set up a cordless drill and a drill bit approximately the size of the threaded portion of the new tenon. I turned the stem onto the drill bit and slowly opened the airway to fit the new tenon. Once I had the airway open and deep enough to accommodate the threaded end I used a tap to cut threads into the inside of the stem. YB8I turned the new tenon into the threaded airway in the stem to check the fit. When it was correct I gave the threads a coat of slow drying black super glue and turned the tenon into the stem until it was tight against the face of the stem.YB9 YB10I set the stem aside to let the glue cure and began to work on the crack in the shank. It did not matter which way I chose to repair the shank I needed to clean up the previous repair and remove the dried wood glue. I needed a clean surface to reglue with super glue. Once I had the surface clean I pried open the crack and used a dental pick to push clear super glue into the crack. Once the glue was in place I clamped the shank until the glue set.YB11I sanded the glued shank with 180 grit sandpaper to remove the finish and the over flow of glue from the repair. I wanted to make the surface smooth so that I could either band it externally or do it internally and then refinish the shank.YB12 YB13The next two photos show the gold/yellow colour of the paint in the stamping of the shank on both sides. Once I stripped the bowl of the varnish coat this would disappear and I would need to recreate it.YB14I cleaned out the inside of the shank and the mortise with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was dirty but cleaned up easily. I repeated the same process on the airway in the stem. It too was easy to clean. I reamed out the bowl with the Savinelli Pipe Knife to take the cake back. Underneath the light cake I found that they original Yello-Bole coating was still in place.YB15Once the glue on the shank had cured overnight I carefully put the stem in the shank to check the alignment of the stem and shank. I took the following photos of the pipe at this point in the process.YB16 YB17I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the varnish coat that was crackling. It took some scrubbing but the finish came off quite easily and left the colour in the briar.YB18I was careful to not wipe around the repaired shank as the acetone will dissolve super glue and I would be back to square one. I sanded the bowl with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to further remove the finish.YB19I wiped the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil to see what the grain looked like.YB20 YB21I cleaned the shank and used European Gold Rub N’ Buff to restore the gold in the stamping. I really like how Yello-Bole and some of the older American pipes utilized the gold leaf in the stamping to make it highly readable.YB22I scrubbed the stem with Meguiar’s Scratch X2.0 to remove the majority of the oxidation and polish the stem. The residue of the oxidation is shown on the cotton pad under the stem.YB23I sanded the remaining oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper to remove it from the surface of the stem. There were some small tooth marks on the top and bottom sides of the stem as well that I sanded out with the sandpaper.YB24I wetsanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and gave the stem a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil.YB25 YB26I drilled out the tenon to the diameter of the stinger apparatus that had originally come with the old tenon. I made it large enough that the stinger was removable in order that the pipe could be smoked with or without the stinger.YB27The band that Charles shipped me came on Friday and it was a good fit on the shank. I coated the shank with some white glue and pressed the band onto the shank. I wiped away the excess glue with a damp cotton pad.YB28 YB29I used a dark brown stain pen to touch up the area around the shank repair that extended beyond the band. The colour worked well with the brown/red colour of the stain on the rest of the shank.YB30I buffed the area around the band with White Diamond on the wheel to blend in the stain colour with the rest of the pipe. I buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond, being careful to avoid the nickel band. I have found that when I buff the band at the same time as the rest of the pipe the black from the nickel on the buffing pad is transferred to the shank and stem. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and then with a microfibre cloth to deepen and raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I really like the way it turned out and I am sure glad that I was able to work a trade with Robb for the pipe.YB31 YB32 YB33 YB34 YB35 YB36 YB37 YB38I took some final photos of the pipe. The first photo shows the stinger next to the bowl and stem go give an idea of the size of the stinger and the second photo shows the stinger in place in the stem. Thanks for looking. YB39 YB40