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.
- 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.
- From 1933-1936 they were stamped Honey Cured Briar.
- Post 1936 pipes were stamped “Cured with Real Honey”
- Pipes stems stamped with the propeller logo they were made in the 30s or 40s no propellers were used after the 40s.
- Yello Bole also used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 30s.
- If the pipe had the Yello Bole circle stamped on the shank it was made in the 30s this stopped after 1939.
- 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:
- Double Carburetor
- 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.