Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on my table was second pipe from threesome sent to for work from a fellow in Eastern Canada. This one is a partially rusticated Billiard. I found that it is stamped on the left side and read KLEENEST [over] Imported Briar. The bowl had a light cake and there was some lava and darkening on the back rim top and edge of the bowl. The bowl was slightly out of round from reaming. The finish was dark, dirty and oily feeling and the briar was semi rusticated. The lower half of the bowl and the shank were rusticated and there was a carved leaf on the front of the bowl above the rustication. The rest of the bowl was smooth. The stem is probably vulcanite and has a Medico style tenon that fits a 6MM filter. There were tooth marks and tooth chatter on both sides of the stem ahead of the button and on the surface. There is no stamping on the stem. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show what they looked like before I started my clean up. I also took some of the stem to show the condition of both sides. The stamping on the sides of the shank are shown in the photos below. They are clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of them to show the perspective on the pipe. You can see the burn marks on the bowl and shank and the scratches and fills in the briar.I googled the brand and found a gallery of pipes marked KLEENEST Imported Briar. Here is the link(https://pipes.collectionhero.com/outer/gallery_listings.php?keyword=Kleenest+#google_vignette).
In the pipes listed in the gallery there were ties to Kaywoodie, Medico, Grabow and some were stamped France and other Italy. The metal tenon in the shank reminds me very much of both a Grabow and a Medico pipe. The pipe photo I am including below has a similar style spacer and stem on a bowl that has the same style rustication finish. The description on the site is as follows:
RARE 1950s/60s KLEENEST … RARE 1950s/60s KLEENEST BRIAR Italy TOBACCO PIPEArmed with the information that I found online I turned my attention to the clean up of the pipe itself. I reamed out the remaining cake in the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the remnants in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished the interior of the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. The bowl looked very good with no damage or checking on the walls. I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to bring the bowl back into round. I cleaned off the rim top at the same time. It looked much better.
I scrubbed the externals of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I worked over the bowl and the rim top. I rinsed with warm water to remove the debris and the soap. Once I dried it off you can see that there were still remnants of varnish on the briar that I would need to remove. You can see the sparkles of varnish on the photos above. It is both on the smooth portion of the bowl and the rusticated portion. I wiped the briar down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the varnish coat and clean off the briar. With the varnish removed you can see the burn marks on the right side of the bowl and the shank. I dried it off and took photos of it at this point in the process. There is some nice looking grain around the bowl and the rustication is quite rugged. The clean bowl and shank looks very good. I cleaned the airway and mortise in the shank and the tube airway in the stem until they were very clean. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad to remove the grit. The bowl began to take on a rich shine. The briar took on a newer, richer look. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my finger tips and into the rusticated portion with a shoe brush. I let it sit for 10 minutes and the Balm did its magic. It enlivens, cleans and preserves the briar. It certainly brought this bowl back to life. I buffed it off with a clean cloth and took the following photos. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface carefully with the flame of a lighter to try and lift the tooth marks. They lifted slightly. I filled in the marks that remained with clear CA glue. When the repairs cured I used a small file to reshape the button edge and flatten out the repairs. I sanded the repairs 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface. I started the polishing process with 600 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I fit the stem with a paper Medico Filter in the metal tenon in the stem. It fit the tenon and into the shank and provided the smoker with a dry smoke.This Kleenest Imported Briar Filter Billiard is an interesting looking pipe now that it has been restored. The smooth portion of the finish highlights the grain and rustic portion gives a tactile sense to the pipe. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the 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 Kleenest Filter Billiard 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 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 50 grams/1.76 ounces. I have one more pipe for this Eastern Canada Pipeman to work on. Once I have finished all three I will be sending them back to him to enjoy. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.