Tag Archives: Kriswill Pipes

Restoring A Vintage Kriswill “Chief # 35” Pickaxe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe selected for refurbishing is a commonly shaped pickaxe Danish pipe. I say common because through the 1960s and 70s, this shape and its variations was the most loved and common on many Kriswill and Stanwell pipes as well as with various artisan pipe carvers from Denmark.

This pipe has a smooth stummel with a natural finish (I guess) that has darkened over a period of time. For a pipe with a length of 5 ½ inches and bowl height of 2 inches and chamber depth of 1 ¾ inches, it’s pretty much ultra light weight, making it a perfect pipe to clench. The vulcanite stem is thin and delicate. The smooth stummel surface displays beautiful cross grains to the front and aft of the bowl while the sides boast of lovely bird’s eye grains. It would need a good TLC to bring these grains to the fore. Here are a few pictures of the pipe that Abha had taken before she did her part of initial cleaning of the pipe. The pipe is stamped on the left surface of the shank as “Kriswill” in script hand over “CHIEF” over “HANDMADE DENMARK”. The bottom of the shank, at the shank end, is stamped with the shape code “35”. The vulcanite stem bears the stamp “KRISWILL” in script hand over the left surface. Last year, I had worked on a unique Kriswill “GOLDEN CLIPPER” that had a stummel shaped like the chimney of early steam locomotive engines. Here is the link for the write up… Restoring a Kriswill “Golden Clipper” Freehand Chimney | rebornpipes. I am sure you will find it an interesting read.

I had researched the brand at that time and I went through the above write up and also through the material that was available on pipedia.org and pipephil.eu. There are three facts which I wish to highlight:-

Firstly, Prior to 1970 the stampings are in script letters on the shank and on the mouthpiece. The star on the stem and block letters on the shank were introduced from that date on”

Secondly, the stem stamping changed to “stylized compass rose” prior to 1969 and not 1970 as evidenced from the Kriswill Pipe catalog pages of January 1969 (https://pipedia.org/images/5/5f/KriswillCatalog-Jan1969.pdf)

Thirdly, there is no mention of this shape code # 35 in the “CHIEF” line up in the 1969 and 1970 catalogs further implying that this shape code was discontinued after 1969,of course this is assuming that the complete catalog is made available at the above given link.

On pipedia.org, I came across an early catalog which does have a shape code # 35 pipe that is currently on my work table and is indicated with a red arrow. It’s a Nature finished pipe in brown color as indicated by the shape code.Thus from the above, the pipe that I am now working on definitely pre-dates to 1970s since the stamping is in script and the stem is sans the star and probably even prior to 1969.

With the provenance of the pipe satisfactorily established, I proceeded to carry out a visual inspection of the condition of the pipe in my hand. This helps me map the road to restoring the pipe by identifying the issues involved and identify methods/ options to address the same beforehand.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber is so filled with cake that I am unable to reach the bottom of the bowl with my little finger. The build-up of the cake is heavier on the bottom half of the bowl, but overall well maintained. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon only after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The rim top appears darkened and is covered with dust, lava and grime. The inner rim edge is uneven under the lava overflow and the exact condition will be ascertained once the rim top has been cleaned. The chamber odors are not very strong and should be completely eliminated once the cake has been removed and the shank has been thoroughly cleaned.The stummel surface appears dull and lackluster due to the accumulated dirt, dust and grime of years of usage and subsequent uncared for storage. One minor nick (encircled in yellow) and a scratch (indicated with green arrow) is seen over the front of the stummel surface. The mortise is clogged with oils and tars. This should be an easy clean up job. The vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized. The button has some bite marks on both surfaces and will need to be rebuilt and reshaped. There is minor tooth chatter in the bite zone on both the surfaces. The airway in the stem is blocked resulting in a restricted draw and will need to be cleaned. The tenon and the horizontal slot show accumulation of dried oils, tars and gunk on the inside as well as on the outside. This will have to be cleaned. The aluminum inner tube is covered in dried oils and tars. I shall clean it and keep it aside in my box with other inner tubes and stingers as I never use them with my pipes.Initial Cleaning By Abha…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these had reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration (the pipe that I am working on is indicated by yellow arrow). Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem. She had removed the inner tube from the tenon and cleaned it with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol.Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The initial cleaning by Abha, my wife, is thorough and while saving me time, it also provides a clear picture of all the issues that needs to be addressed during the restoration process. She also makes a note of all the issues that she observed during initial cleaning for me to address and includes this note with each pipe that she packs. It’s a big saving on the time factor and I am really thankful to her for indulging me.

This is how the pipe came to me after Abha had worked her magic. The stampings on this pipe, as detailed above, are crisp and easily readable.The rim top surface does have a few issues that have now come to the fore after cleaning. The inner edge has minor charring between 12 o’clock and 1 o’clock direction and is encircled in yellow. The chamber walls have numerous, disjointed and very minor heat fissures which would need to be addressed. These heat fissures are indicated with green arrows. The inner edge is uneven in the 6 o’clock direction (encircled in blue). It has been my experience that these heat lines/ fissures may also appear if the complete cake has not been reamed out and once the complete carbon cake is reamed out, these lines disappear. That is what I shall try first! Through the cleaned stummel surface, the beauty of this piece of briar can be appreciated further. The beautiful bird’s eye and cross grains over the stummel will be further highlighted once the stummel has been polished and rejuvenated. I shall deal with the small nick that is observed over the front of the bowl either by filling it or may even leave it be. This nick and the scratch should be addressed to a great extent after I sand the stummel surface followed by subsequent polishing pads. The mortise is nice and clean with no ghost smells.The stem has cleaned up nicely and the oxidation is completely eliminated. One deep tooth indentation (marked in pastel blue) is seen on both the upper and lower stem surface in the bite zone. I shall address this issue with a fill of activated charcoal and CA superglue. The horizontal slot and the tenon end are clean with a full and even draw.The Process…
The first issue that I addressed was that of the stem repairs. I flamed the surface of the stem with a lighter to raise the tooth indentations on the stem. The heat from the flame of the lighter causes the vulcanite to expand and regain its natural shape, reducing the marks. I wiped the stem surface clean with a cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove all the dust and dirt from the surface. The tooth marks which were visible after the flaming and sanding were filled with a mix of activated charcoal and clear CA superglue and set aside to cure overnight.With the stem fills set aside for curing, I worked the rim top surface. To address the uneven and charring of the inner rim edge, I topped the rim surface on a 220 grit sand paper. Though it is recommended to have a wooden board with the 220 grit sand paper firmly fixed over it, I just keep the sand paper on a flat table top, holding it firmly with my left hand and rotating the rim top over it with my right hand. I have come to realize that this set up gives me lot more freedom of movement, better control and convenience of storage. I frequently checked the progress being made as I hate to lose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. I am pretty happy with the inner rim edge and what little darkening and unevenness remains will be masked by creating a slight bevel to the edge. This is how the rim top appears at this point in restoration. Taking these pictures, I remembered to ream the chamber to address the issue of suspected heat fissures. Using my fabricated small knife, I scraped away all the carbon from the chamber walls and followed it by sanding the wall surface using a 220 grit sand paper to a smooth surface. The chamber appears to be solid with no issues to the chamber walls. Staying with the rim, the next issue that I addressed was with the rim edges, both inner and outer. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and fore finger, I created a bevel on the inner edge. This addressed the issue of the uneven and out of round chamber and also reduced the darkened edge.Next, I sanded the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. This helps to remove the minor scratches, nicks and dings from the stummel surface. While I was working on the stummel, the stem fills had completely cured. With a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. I further sanded the fills with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to achieve a better match. Thereafter, I began the process of bringing a nice shine to the surface by sanding with 320, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sandpapers. I applied a little EVO to the stem surface to hydrate it and set the stem aside for the oil to be absorbed in to the surface.To bring a deep shine to the stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit sandpapers. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad. At the end of micromesh cycle, I polished the stem with “Before and After Fine & Extra Fine” paste. I also refreshed the stem stamping with a white correction pen. The finished stem is shown below. With the repair completed, I turned my attention back to the stummel. I wet sanded the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean lines of this piece of briar is really appreciable. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the Bird’s eye and cross grains with the natural finish of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel which may be insufficiently described in words and be rather seen in person. I have now reached the homestretch in this restoration project. To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. Next, I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is ready to join my collection. I only wish it could share with me it’s story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend or maybe just keep admiring it!! The finished pipe is as shown below. P.S. I had completed this pipe (and next 6 restorations) during the months of November and December of last year. The reason for the delayed write ups is because I have moved out to a new work place and my luggage, including pipe restoration equipment, materials and pipes, were transported from old station to new place of work. My family will be moving in with me now (after a separation of nearly five years) by next month end after winding up the household in Pune. I should be settling down in to my new routine by end of April and only then will I be able to undertake any new projects. So in the intervening period, I intend to complete all my pending write ups so that I am still in touch with all the esteemed readers, who I miss very much.

A note of thanks to all the readers who have joined me in this journey that has been such a pleasure! You and your loved ones are always in our prayers…Stay home…stay safe!!

Breathing New Life into a Kriswill Handmade Count 370


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that has been around here for quite a while and today was its day to be cleaned up. It is a Kriswill Handmade pipe. It is a pretty pipe with a nice looking shape. The condition is a bit rough. The left side of the shank is scratched and there is a significant road rash toward the bottom of the bowl. There was a think cake in the bowl and there was a thick lava overflow on the rim top. The pipe was dirty and grimy feeling. The pipe is stamped on the left and underside of the shank and reads Kriswill Count over Handmade in Denmark on the left side and on the underside it has the shape number 370 at the shank/stem junction. The vulcanite taper stem is not too bad – there is light oxidation and tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. It has the Kriswill Snowflake Logo on the left side of the stem. I took photos of the pipe before I started my clean up work. I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of the bowl, rim top and edges and stem. The bowl has a thin cake and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner edge is dirty and caked so it is hard to know what the condition was like. I was hopeful that the edges were in good condition! The next photos show the condition of the stem. It is also clean and has light oxidation. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable. I forgot to take a photo of the shape number 370 stamp on the underside. There is also the snowflake logo on the left side of the taper stem. I took a quick photo of the damaged area on the lower left side of the bowl – the road rash!I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the pipe.I turned to the Pipephil website to do a quick review of the brand and try to see if there was any information on the Count line (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-k3.html). I have included a screen capture of the section on the site:I quote from the side bar on the above screen capture:

Kriswill is a brand of Kriswork Briar Trading, in Kolding (Denmark) established about 1955.

Some of Kriswill pipes were designed by Sigvard Bernadotte, Swedish prince and brother to the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark. He collaborated with his Danish partner Acton Bjørn.

When the company went bankrupt in the late 1970s it was on a level with Stanwell. Dan Pipe Cigar & Company (Hafenstrasse 30 D-21481 Lauenburg/Elbe, Ge) bought the rights to use the name and it is Holmer Knudsen and/or Poul Winsløw who make the Kriswill line. Nørding, on its side, bought the plant and introduced a Kriswell line.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kriswill) and sure enough I found catalogue page Circa 1970, courtesy Doug Valitchka. Unfortunately it did not have the 370 shape on the page.

I also have included a large part of the history from the article.

Founded in the late 1950s, Kriswill was one of two large pipe manufacturers in Denmark during the 1960s and 1970s, on par with Stanwell as measured by number of employees, pipes produced, and quality. The Kriswill catalog cover reads “By Appointment to the Royal Danish Court, KRISWILL, Kriswork Briar Trading, Briar Pipes Hand Made in Denmark.”

Kriswell began immediately after World War II. Karl Robert Kris, an engineer for the shipping company AP Møller at the time, was in port (undoubtedly in the Mediterranean) when he encountered a shipment of briar. The briar blocks awakened his curiosity and he took some home. About this time the the shipping trade become difficult due to the war, causing Kris to consider other business opportunities. In 1947, Kris (then 47 years old) established himself as a pipe maker in his hometown of Kolding.

Kris started his pipe making operation in a house located at Haderslevvej 115 in Kolding, and was soon joined by 3-4 employees. The pipes were sold under the name Rocky and supplied the domestic market. Within 6 months the company had grown, more employees hired, and their sales expanded to markets abroad.

Due to increasing production and marketing, Karl Robert Kris decided in the mid-1950s to expand. An entirely new factory was built at Sdr. Ring road on the outskirts of Kolding. At that time the pipes were branded Kriswell. That name did not last long, however, as Stanwell believed that name was too close to theirs. The compromise was to change the name to Kriswill. Krisill soon grew to become a serious competitor to Stanwell, especially in the export markets. The Kriswill factory logo, stamped on the stem, became the stylized compass rose – as a reference to the manufacturer’s maritime background.

Kriswill pipes excelled in design and craftsmanship. Karl Robert Kris was not afraid of new designs and had a good eye on the US market, where larger and more innovative designs were increasingly popular. Craftsmanship was given top priority throughout Kriswell’s production. A local designer / architect had designed the first models. Later, the famous architects Sigvard Bernadotte (Swedish prince and brother of Queen Ingrid) and Acton Bjørn designed their own series, which were known as Bernadotte designed.

Two other series were the Golden Clipper and the Chief. The Golden Clipper pipes were smaller, lighter, more reserved, and popular in Europe. The Chief series was especially designed for the Americans, who wanted larger pipes. These pipes were light for their size, however, very different from the “Danish Free Style” pipes that other Danish makers were sending to the US market. Kriswill pipes that did not meet the requirements of the main lines were sold as “seconds” under the names Danish Crown and Navigator…

…Karl Robert Kris died in 1966. The factory was well-run, and Kris’s widow wanted the family to continue the business. Karl’s son, Jens was groomed as director and remained with the company until 1975. The 1970s were difficult times for pipe-making in Denmark, as in the rest of the world. In addition to declining demand, they struggled with runaway inflation and annual wage increases of 18-20 percent. It was challenging to maintain the level of craftsmanship without raising prices, yet customers had difficulty accepting large price increases. As a result manufacturing become less profitable. Soon Jens Kris left Kriswell and new management and staff were hired at the factory.

Shortly after Jens departed Kriswill the company failed. The Kriswill name and model series were sold to the Norwegian pipe factory Lillehammer. The machines were acquired by Erik Nørding, and the property was sold.

After a few years Lillehammer also ceased production. Kriswills were made for a while in the 1980s at the Catalan factory, Iberica de Pipas. But these pipes were far from the quality of the originals, and became Kriswills in name only.

I now knew that the Count I had on the table was made between the start of the company in 1950 and the sale of the company in the late 1970s. Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe. I started by reaming the cake back to bare briar with a PipNet pipe reamer so I could check out the integrity of the bowl. I cleaned up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife. I finished by sanding the walls of the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. The shank was very dirty and appeared to not have been cleaned. The stem was much better.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim top with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed it off under warm running water and dried it off with a soft towel. With the bowel cleaned inside and out it was time to address the remaining lava on the rim top. I scraped it off with the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall knife. I sanded off the remaining tars and cleaned up the darkening on the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started to polish the rim top and edges with a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. When I finished the rim top looked far better. I also sanded out the road rash on the lower left side of the bowl with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper. I was able to smooth it out and blend it into the surrounding briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks and chatter on the vulcanite. I was able to lift all of them.I sanded what remained and blended them into the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point it is starting to look much better.  I polished the vulcanite 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.   This Kriswill Count 370 turned out to be a great looking pipe. The mix of brown stains highlights the mix of grain around the bowl sides, top and bottom. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work 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 Kriswill Count 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This pipe will be going on the rebornpipes shortly. If you are interested in adding this one to your collection let me know. Thanks for your time.

Restoring a Kriswill “Golden Clipper” Freehand Chimney


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe selected for refurbishing is a uniquely shaped Danish pipe. I say unique because it has a tall chamber, rounded shank with a rim cap, a slight bent to the stem and is a sitter! It’s a shape that I had never come across and was unable to classify its shape. I shared pictures of the pipe with my Guru, Steve and he opined that it could be called a Rhodesian, stack, sitter or Bulldog as it has characteristics of all these shapes but looks like neither. Thus, we concurred that it’s most appropriate to call this pipe a freehand!!!! The bowl shape reminds me of the chimney of early steam locomotive engines with their bellowing huge plumes of smoke as they rush forward.This pipe has shallow sandblast and a natural finish (I guess) that has darkened over a period of time. For a pipe with a length of 5 ½ inches and bowl height of 2 inches and chamber depth of 1 ¾ inches, it’s pretty much ultra light weight, making it a perfect smoker to clench. The vulcanite saddle stem is thin and delicate. The shallow sandblast form the asymmetric patterns look interesting. The foot of the stummel is flat and elongated, making it a perfect sitter. A smooth briar band at the shank end breaks the monotony of the blasted surface and also provides a surface for stamping the model number. The pipe is stamped on the bottom smooth surface of the shank as “Kriswill” in script hand over “GOLDEN CLIPPER”. Further to the right towards the shank end on the smooth briar band is stamped the shape (?) code “1894”. Truth be told, the shape code stamping of the numeral 8 appears smudged. Having worked earlier on Kriswill pipes, I realized that the stamp “HAND MADE IN DENMARK” is conspicuous by its absence. The thin delicate vulcanite saddle stem is devoid of any stampings.A couple of years back I had worked on a Kriswill Golden Clipper and on a Chief. Here is the link for the Kriswill Chief write up…

https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/04/breathing-new-life-into-a-kriswill-chief-20/. I am sure you will find it an interesting read.

I had researched the brand at that time and all that was now needed was to refresh the memory. I went through the above write up and also through the material that was available on pipedia.org and pipephil.eu. There are two facts which I wish to highlight, firstly, Prior to 1970 the stampings are in script letters on the shank and on the mouthpiece. The star on the stem and block letters on the shank were introduced from that date on”

Second, is deciphering the four digit model coding system adopted by Kriswill. The last two numerals are the model numbers for smooth finish and all sandblasted have numeral 18 preceding the model number. Thus the pipe currently on my table is a model #94 and since it is a sandblast variant, the number is 1894.

Thus from the above, the pipe that I am now working on dates to pre 1970s since the stamping is in script and the stem is sans the star.

With the provenance of the pipe satisfactorily established, I proceeded to carry out a visual inspection of the condition of the pipe in my hand. This helps me map the road to restoring the pipe by identifying the issues involved and identify methods/ options to address the same beforehand.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber is so filled with cake that I am unable to reach the bottom of the bowl with my little finger. The build-up of the cake is heavier on the bottom half of the bowl, but overall well maintained. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The rim top is thin and has the same shallow sandblast surface as the rest of the stummel, has darkened and is covered with dust, lava and grime. I don’t think that there is any charring to either of the rim edges and they appear to be in pristine condition. The chamber odors are not very strong and should be completely eliminated once the cake has been removed and the shank has been thoroughly cleaned.The stummel surface appears dull and lackluster due to the accumulated dirt, dust and grime of years of usage and subsequent uncared for storage. There are no fills or chips or nicks over the stummel surface. There are no other stummel issues that I have to deal with on this pipe. The mortise is relatively clean with small amount of oils and tars accumulated on the walls of the mortise. This should be an easy clean up job. The delicate vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized. The lip has some minor bite marks on both surfaces and will need to be rebuilt and reshaped. There is some calcification seen around the lip on both the surfaces. The airway in the stem is blocked and the draw is restricted. I will need to clean it to ensure a full and open draw. The tenon and the horizontal slot show accumulation of dried oils, tars and gunk on the inside as well as on the outside, this will have to be cleaned. The Process
The process of refurbishing this pipe started with the cleaning of the stem. Abha, my wife, cleaned the stem air way with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. She further cleaned the stem internals with thin shank brushes and dish soap to remove the stubborn and thick gunk from within the airway. The heap of pipe cleaners and their appearance tells a sordid story. With a sharp fabricated knife, she scraped off all the dried tars and gunk from the tenon end.The stem surface was sanded down with a worn out piece of 180 grit sand paper. I have realized that following this step prior to immersion into the “Before and After Stem Deoxidizer” solution has two advantages, firstly, the stem surface oxidation gets loosened and the solution works deeper and more efficiently in pulling the deep seated oxidation from the stem surface. Secondly, the minor tooth chatter and calcium depositions are taken care of prior to the immersion. I immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. This solution has been developed by Mark Hoover and works to draw out all the deep seated oxidation from the surface making its subsequent cleaning and polishing a breeze. I would definitely recommend this product as it saves on to time and efforts. The pipe has been marked with a red arrow for easy identification.Abha, my wife, dealt with the cake by reaming the chamber with a Castleford pipe tool using size 1 followed by size 2 head of the reamer. Using the fabricated knife, she further scraped the cake from the bottom of the bowl and also the walls of the chamber. She was especially very careful while reaming with the knife so as not to damage the inner edge of the rim. Once the solid briar was exposed, she further smoothed the walls and removed remaining cake by sanding with a 180 followed by 220 grit sand paper. Another advantage of this process is the elimination of traces of ghosting to a great extent. She wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with 99.9% isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are pristine and solid with no heat fissures or pits. Simultaneously I cleaned out the internals of the shank/ mortise and airway using q- tips, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife till the accumulated gunk was removed. Further cleaning of the shank internals will ensue during the external cleaning of the stummel.Thereafter, I generously rubbed “Briar Cleaner”, a product that has been developed by my friend Mark Hoover, into the external surface of the bowl and the rim top surface. It works similar to Murphy’s oil soap and needs to be applied to the stummel surface and set aside for 5- 10 minutes. The product pulls out all the dirt and grime to the surface making further cleaning easy. I am quite happy with this product. I used a hard bristled tooth brush to scrub the stummel and rim top with the solution. After the scrub with Briar cleaner solution, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the intricate sandblast patterns on full display. The stummel now looks and smells fresh and the old smells are all gone. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The next morning, Abha removed the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and the airway with thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.I further sanded the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 and 320 grit sand papers to further remove the traces of oxidation and reduce the sanding marks and followed it with wet sanding the entire stem with 1500 to 12000 grade micromesh pads (1500 to 2400 grit micromesh pads have completely worn out and unable to order a set due to lock down and so had used 1500 and 2000 grit wet or dry sand paper). I wiped the stem with a moist cloth to remove the dust and monitored the progress being made after every three grit pads. The stem polished up nicely and had a rich deep black shine to it. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite and set the stem aside.Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips, working it deep in to the sandblasts and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful sandblast patterns displayed in their complete splendor. The contrast of the light brown of the raised sandblast portion with the dark brown of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. On to the home stretch!! I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further and remove any residual wax from in between the sandblasts. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. P.S. I am not really pleased with the restoration projects that I can choose due to paucity of equipment and materials that are required. Today I realized that I have run out of the medium superglue I use and that the spare one has mysteriously hardened within the tube. With my country under lock down to arrest the spread of the COVID- 19 virus, no delivery can take place. So I am being forced to improvise and that I shall continue to do!!

The next project that I have earmarked is interesting in that it is the very first time that I shall be undertaking repairs of this nature. Be sure to read that write up and help me improve my skill sets.

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and praying for the health and safety of entire mankind. Stay home…stay safe!!

Replacing a Broken Tenon and Restoring a Kriswill Bernadotte Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another one of the pipes that came to me from a fellow in Kitchener, Ontario that needed some cleaning and in this case a tenon replacement. He had been referred to me by my local pipe and cigar shop. While I am not currently adding more pipes to my queue of repairs I have made a commitment to the shop to work on pipes for their customers. Generally they have one or two pipes that need a bit of work. This fellow sent me the following email:

I just came across my smoking pipes that I’ve had in storage for about 40 years. I’m wondering what you’d charge to have them refurbished. There are 17 in total (11 are Brighams and 6 are various).

It turns out he said he had 17 pipes. That was certainly more than I expected but I communicated that there was a large queue ahead of him and I would have to fit them in as I could. He was fine with whatever time it took. He sent me the following photos of his collection that he wanted restored. The first photo shows his eleven Brigham pipes – all very interesting shapes. The second photo shows the six various pipes in the collection – A Republic Era Peterson’s System 1312 (Canadian Import), A Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand, a Comoy’s Everyman London smooth billiard, a GBD Popular Dublin 12, an English made Kaywoodie Rustica 72B, a Kriswill Bernadotte 60 with a broken tenon. When the box arrived there were two additional pipes included for a total of 19 – a Ropp 803 Deluxe Cherrywood Poker and a Comoy’s Sandblast Everyman Canadian 296. It was a lot of pipes! I have been randomly choosing the next pipe to work on and chose the Kriswill that needed a tenon replacement and general over haul. I have drawn a red box around it in the photo below.Unlike the other pipes that I unwrapped this one needed much more work than the Brighams that I had worked on so far. It was a Kriswill Bernadotte Oval Shank Dublin. It was stamped on the top of the shank Kriswill over Bernadotte over Hand Made Denmark. On the underside of the shank next the shank/stem junction it bears the shape number 60. It had great grain that the shape not only followed but captured. The rim top had a lava overflow from the thick cake in the bowl and some darkening and lava on the beveled inner edge of the rim. It was a dirty pipe but appeared to be in okay condition under the grime. There was some shiny substance in the stamping of the portion that read Hand Made Denmark. As I examined it I saw a small hairline crack in the shank area just below the stamping and into that portion noted above. It appeared to have been glued. I would need to clean that up and re-glue it. The tapered stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. There was a classic Kriswill snowflake logo on the top of the stem. The tenon was snapped off cleanly in the shank and was stuck there. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim as well as the thick cake and lava overflowing onto the rim top. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition as mentioned above.   I took a photo of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank to show what I was speaking about above. It is very clear and readable. You can see the shiny substance in the Hand Made Denmark portion of the stamp. I have also drawn an oval around the hairline crack in the shank in the photos below. The repair seems to have left glue in the stamping as the crack is not that long. I also have included a photo of the shape number stamp on the underside of the shank. There was also a hairline crack in the underside of the shank to the right of the shape number.I remembered that Pipephil had a great summary of the brand so I turned to that site and reviewed the history (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-k3.html). It was much as I expected but there was a part of the history there that I had not noted before. I have included a screen capture of the section on the site regarding Kriswill pipes.I quote the new information (at least for me) regarding the Bernadotte line. Kriswill is a brand of Kriswork Briar Trading, in Kolding (Denmark) established about 1955. Some of Kriswill pipes were designed by Sigvard Bernadotte, Swedish prince and brother to the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark. He collaborated with his Danish partner Acton Bjørn.

There was a small line at the bottom of the section that said Portrait of Sigvard Bernadotte. I clicked on it and was taken to the second screen capture I have included.From the site and the information on Sigvard Bernadotte I learned that the pipe I had in hand was designed for Kriswill by Sigvard Bernadotte, Swedish prince and brother to the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark. That was new information to me. I have worked on a lot of Kriswill pipes before but never made that connection. But now I knew… a pipe designed by royalty! I would never have guessed that prior to reading this.

Armed with that information I was ready to start on the Bernadotte pipe. I decided to start my work by addressing the broken tenon. I put the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes and then pulled the broken tenon from the shank with drywall screw. It was an easy pull. I then cleaned up the glue on the stamping with acetone on a cotton pad. I opened the hairline crack on both sides of the shank and put clear superglue in the crack. I pressed it together and clamped it until it cured. With the crack on both sides I am going to recommend to the pipeman that we put an elegant thin band on the shank. I set the bowl aside to let the repairs cure while I waited to hear from the pipeman regarding possible banding of the pipe. I turned my attention to replacing the tenon. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to flatten the face of the stem and remove the broken bits of vulcanite from the broken tenon.I started drilling out the airway with a bit slightly larger than the existing airway in the stem. I complication was that the airway was not centered in either the broken tenon or the stem at this point. I used a sharp pen knife to funnel the airway and straighten it out before I drilled. I was able to center the airway. I worked my way through three different drill bits to get the airway open enough to receive the new tenon. The next photo shows the threaded tenon before I went to work on it with the Dremel. My issue with this replacement was that the stem tapered quickly and did not allow much room. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to remove the hip on the new tenon and reduce the diameter of the portion going into the stem. I glued it into the stem with thick super glue. In the photo it looks like it is tapered a bit. I cleaned that up with a file so that the flow was smooth and the fit was snug in the airway.Once I made the flow of the tenon straight and smooth I slid it into the repaired shank to have a look. Some fine tuning to do for sure but I like the look of the new fit.I set the stem aside to let the tenon cure. I turned back to the bowl. I reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer. The bowl was conical so I started with the small reaming head to take care of the bowl and worked my way up to the third head. I cleaned up the transitions with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and trimmed the cake back so I could examine the walls. I sanded the walls of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel. I scraped off the lava on the inner beveled rim with the Savinelli Fitsall knife. I worked on the inner beveled edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and clean off the darkening.I scrubbed the bowl with a tooth brush and some of Mark Hoover’s new Briar Cleaning product. He sent me some to experiment with so this was the first test. I tried the Extra Strength version. It worked fairly well. The verdict is still out for me whether it is better than Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed it off with warm water and dried the bowl off with a cotton cloth. I cleaned out the mortise area and airway to the bowl and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.I wet sanded the rim top and the bowl sides with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl surface down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the sanding dust. Once I finished the bowl looked good.   I rubbed the bowl and shank 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 it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. It really makes the grain stand out on this pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. When I was in the US visiting Jeff and his wife I picked up some Soft Scrub. Jeff swears by this stuff as the first tool to use to remove a lot of the oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it on with a cotton pad and sure enough it removed the oxidation and the calcification build up. It looked a lot better.I cleaned out the marks with alcohol and a cotton swab. I filled them in with clear super glue and set the stem aside to cure.   While the repairs to the stem surface were curing I made a call to Neil in Eastern Canada to talk with him about banding the shank on this beautiful little pipe. I have some small brass bands that I can reduce to 1/8 of an inch in height that will allow me to band the pipe and still keep the stamping free and readable. He gave the go ahead so I worked on the band. I found a band that was the right diameter in my collection of bands. I tapped it with a small hammer to make it oval and put it on the shank. I tapped around the shank to smooth out the fit. I tapped the end of the shank to smooth out the small dents. I took it off and used the topping board to reduce the depth of the band to just under 1/8 of an inch. I topped the dented top of the band as well.Once I had it smoothed out and the shape correct for the shank I spread some all-purpose glue on the shank and pressed the band in place on the shank. The band looks great to me and should do the job in binding the cracked shank together.I took photos of the newly banded shank to give and idea of the new look to the pipe. What do you think? I set the bowl aside and returned to the stem. I smoothed out the repairs and sanded out the remaining oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I rubbed down the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish and a cotton pad to remove the remnants of oxidation and to blend in the sanding. The stem is starting to show promise at this point in the process.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a cotton pad to remove the sanding debris. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine. I always look forward to this part of the restoration when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the new brass band on the shank end. The combination of grain and the thin band add some elegance to the pipe when combined with the polished black vulcanite stem. This royalty designed Kriswill Bernadotte 60 Dublin is nice looking and feels great in my hand. The pipe is another light weight that could be clenched and smoked while doing other things as it is very well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This is the fifth of the pipes sent to me from Eastern Canada for restoration. Once again I am looking forward to what the pipeman who sent it thinks of this restoration. Lots more to do in this lot! 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.

Restoring a Danish Handmade Kriswill Chief 50 Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

This Kriswill is yet another one from a local pipe shop. It came from the estate of an older gentleman whose wife returned his pipes to the shop for restoration and resale. This one is a smooth finished Kriswill Full Bent/Oom Paul. The briar is a combination of mixed grain around the bowl. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Kriswill over Chief over Handmade in Denmark. On the underside near the shank stem junction it has the shape number 50. On the left side of the saddle stem is the Kriswill Snowflake logo. The pipe was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like because of the lava and cake. The stem was lightly oxidized and had come calcification where a pipe Softee bit had been. There was some tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button.This was included in the pipes that I sent off to my brother for cleaning. This is probably the 24/25 pipe that I have brought to the work table from the lot of about 50 to rework. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate his willingness to clean and ream the pipes for me. It allows me to move through the repairs much more quickly. When he received the pipe he took a series of photos of it to show its condition. He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on the rim top.He took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl to give a clear picture of the beauty of the grain on this old pipe. Under the grime there is some great grain peeking through. Jeff took a photo of the stamping to capture the clarity of it even under the grime.The stem looked dirty and oxidized with the calcification left behind by a pipe Softee bit. The edges of the button had bite marks and there was some tooth damage to the surface of the stem next to the button on both sides.I have worked on quite a few Kriswill pipes over the years and have always enjoyed the shapes and the craftsmanship on each of them. This one is no different. It is well made and well-shaped. I reviewed the information I had on Kriswill and have included some of that here.Kriswill was one of the large pipe manufacturers in Denmark during the 1960s and 1970s, and closed around 20 years ago. Their catalog cover read “By Appointment to the Royal Danish Court, KRISWILL, Kriswork Briar Trading, Briar Pipes Hand Made in Denmark.” After the Danish Kriswill enterprise ended, pipes were made in Norway and in France under the Kriswill label. In the 1970s Kriswill was bought by Lillehammer, and in the 1980s the pipes were made for a while at the Catalan factory, Iberica de Pipas  (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Kriswill_Factory.jpg).

Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime in the rustication and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it came back to Vancouver it a cleaner and better looking pipe. I took photos of it before I started the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean up the grime and darkening on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl looked pretty good. The stem had light tooth chatter and some deeper tooth marks on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the shank and the Kriswill Snowflake Logo on the left side of the saddle stem.I worked over the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged portions of the inside edge of the rim. It did not take a lot of sanding to smooth out the damaged areas.I polished the rim top and the rest of the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The photos tell the story. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar on the bowl and rim. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and worked it into the briar. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I repaired the tooth marks with clear super glue. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once the glue cured I cleaned up the edge of the button and the repaired areas with folded pieces of 220 and 400 grit sandpaper until the repairs were blended into surface of the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. The pipe has been sitting in the queue since late in 2017 so the stem was loose in the shank. I know from experience that once the pipe is smoked it will be good and snug. To take care of the interim period I gave the tenon a light coat of clear nail polish. Once it dries the stem will fit snugly in the mortise.I put the stem back on the pipe and worked it over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Though the briar has some fills on the left side of the bowl it is nonetheless a beautiful piece of briar. The shape is a Danish version of a classic Oom Paul pipe and with the restoration has been brought back to life. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inch. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes online store shortly, if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this interesting Kriswill Chief 50 Oom Paul.

Repairing a Broken Shank on a Sandblast Kriswill Golden Clipper 1803 Apple


Blog by Lee Neville

Over the past few months I have been in correspondence with Lee via email. He picked up a couple of pipes for me at a local antique shop in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and sent them to me. We have fired emails back and forth on restoration questions and issues. He also included Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes in the conversations and we had a great time. Earlier this week he sent Charles and me an email about a restoration of a pipe that he did using the internal tube to repair a broken shank. He did a great job on the restoration and the description of the work so I asked him if I could post it on rebornpipes. He was glad to have me do so. Thanks Lee for your work and write up welcome to rebornpipes as a contributor! – Steve

Thought I would share my latest pipe rehabilitation effort of a Kriswill Golden Clipper – Model 1803.  This is the sandblast variant of the 03 shape. It showed up in the Winnipeg EBay lot I purchased and was in two pieces – stem (still attached to its snapped off shank) and the bowl itself.  I tried to remove the stem from the snapped off shank – without luck –  stuck tight. The bowl and shank had broken crookedly transversely across the shank – the break measured between 4mm and 8mm from the bowl body. I’m thinking it occurred when someone tried to pry and twist the stem out of the shank while holding on to the bowl.  The tars holding the stem fast held while the shank and bowl parted ways. In all, a stark example why one cannot use the bowl for leverage when trying to removing a reluctant stem from a shank.  Cue Yosemite Sam screaming “Whoa Mule! Whoooooahhh!!!”.There is also a crusty / gummy residue on the broken bowl and shank surfaces indicating a previous failed glue repair. I’m excited and eager to try my hand at a hidden brass tubing reinforcement glued up inside the shank & bowl as part of this repair.

Bowl Rehab
The bowl was packed full of foul smelling crust. The bowl edge is quite ragged – burned and charred in one area, a bit of a gouge just below the rim in another, damage/wear from dottle banging etc. around the periphery. As I could get to the bottom of the bowl from the exterior of the bowl,  I gently used a dental pick to pry manky tars, oils and burgey from the smoke channel. No doubt this build-up led to the welded-on stem and the situation at hand.

I scraped the carbon out of the bowl with a flexible knife blade, then removed the rest of the crust with some twists with a dowel covered with 220 grit sandpaper to work back to briar. I then used 320 / 400 grits over the dowel to finish the bowl interior to smooth. Luckily, there are no cracks, burnouts in this bowl.

I filled the gouge below rim edge at the 11 o’clock position with CA glue and briar dust to build this rim area up – this minimized the following topping effort. I didn’t want to significantly alter the geometry of the bowl.  Minimal is the key word here. Re-topping was followed by polishing the rim up to 4000 grit with micro mesh pads. I re-stained the rim with a stain marker to bring it back into line with the existing stain value.

I finished up the bowl exterior by scrubbing it gently with cotton pads moistened with water, then repeated with pads wetted with alcohol. Looking good.

Re-attaching the shank to the bowl
I soaked the stuck-together shank and stem in isopropyl alcohol overnight.  They easily pulled apart between the jaws of two pairs of padded pliers. Solvents 1 – Evil 0! The shank remnant stunk with old badness. I hit it with brushes and q-tips and was able to clean it out in 15 minutes of vigorous action.  I’ve cleaned dirty shotguns stem to stern quicker than this 25mm length of broken briar shank!

I used a dental pick to remove most of the remnants of dried glue from the shank and the bowl so they’d fit as closely possible when re-glued.  I then used the CA + spray accelerator product from Inoteca to glue the bowl to the shank. Applying a very thin layer of medium viscosity CA glue to both surfaces, I pressed them together, then hit the assembly with the spray accelerator.  Instant activation and hold. I left this overnight to cure, then the following evening removed the squeeze out from the joint with needle files.  This was followed with filling gaps in the glue line with briar dust and CA glue, needle filing and light sanding.

I applied random dabs of stain marker pen (dark oak and mahogany) to colour match the briar dust/CA fills around the glue line, then I blended these re-stained areas into the stummel with a q-tip moistened with alcohol.

Now for the hidden brass tubing reinforcement.  I bought a length of 5/32″ OD brass tube from a local hobby shop as its ID would be close to the stock diameter of the draught hole post repair. I measured approximately 14mm of briar body between the opening of the draught hole in the bowl bottom to the edge of the broken shank still attached to the bowl.  This meant I could use 20mm of tubing to span the break between the bowl body through the shank to the bottom of the stem mortise. The tube reinforcement will span the break area 10mm each way.

I cut a 20mm length of tubing and roughed up its external surface with needle files to provide additional physical bonding for the epoxy.  Inserting the bowl into my small Dremel bench vise with shank pointing to the sky, I drilled out the shank using a 11/64” bit to the desired depth. This 11/64” hole will allow room for the epoxy to fix the reinforcing length of tubing to the shank wall.

I gently flared one end of the brass tubing using a center punch. This flared end will drop and seat against the stem end of the 11/64” hole drilled in the shank.  I then mixed up a bit of JBWeld, generously smeared the exterior of the tubing with it, then threaded a vaselined pipe cleaner through the tube/glue mess.  The pipe cleaner functions as a guide for the tube to slide into the shank and will prevent epoxy from sealing the draught hole at the end of the tubing through to its opening at the bottom of the bowl.

I pressed everything home with a length of Q-tip stick and was gratified to feel the tubing seat its flared end at the top of the 11/64” hole drilled through the shank mortise.  I pulled the pipe cleaner through the tubing from the bowl end – ensuring any epoxy squeeze-out was cleared from the bottom of the bowl. I used Q-tips to remove any epoxy squeeze-out in the stem tenon area of the shank and left the epoxy to set overnight.

The picture below shows the flared end of the hidden tubing snugly glued below the bottom of the shank mortise in the stummel.Cleaning up the stem
The stem was horribly packed full – poking and prodding with brushes, pipe cleaners and picks, I worked both ends of the stem until it was clear. Then it went into an oxyclean bath to lift the oxidation.  Luckily, the Kriswill stamp was in good shape.  The next day, I removed the lifted oxidation with soft toothbrushes, 400 grit wet n’ dry and then moved quickly through the micro mesh pads through to 12000 grit, it came up bright and shiny.

Finishing the pipe
I slathered on a thick coating of Howards Feed and Wax (beeswax, carnauba and citrus oils) and rubbed it into the stummel to feed the thirsty briar. Gently buffed with a microfibre cloth.  I also treated the bowl to a coating of maple syrup + activated charcoal. I dabbed a bit of Testors white enamel into the stamping on the stem, then wiped the excess away – the Kriswill stamp is now very noticeable.

The stem married up to the stummel with little fuss – It looks good.  It’s a lovely pipe – a small rusticated apple with a delicate shank and stem. It’s a feather-light lovely example of Danish pipe making from the late 1960’s – early 1970s. I’m really looking forward to sparking it up.Again, thank you both (Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes Blog and Steve Laug of rebornpipes blog) for your exhaustive documentation around this procedure – I would have been in quite the pickle without your guidance. (I wish you both the very best in your adventures.)

Photos of the finished restoration are shown below. I am happy with the finished pipe and enjoying the fruit of my work.

The pipe dimensions are as follows:
Kriswill Golden Clipper – Model 1803
Bowl Height: 40mm
Bowl opening: 22mm
Max depth of bowl: 35mm
Max Bowl diameter: 38mm
Length of stummel: 65.28 mm
Diameter of shank: 11mm
Length of stem: 89 mm
Over all length of pipe: 155mm

Top View – showing the topping and stain blend.  I did radius the inside of bowl ever so slightly to bring it back into round.Right side of bowl – Detail. Bottom of bowl – showing rustication.Pipe in profile (the near side or right side) – love the proportions of this pipe – gee whiz they made them graceful back in the day!Pipe in profile (the far side or left side).

New Life for a Sad, Old Kriswill Bent Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is from a group of pipes that Paresh purchased from a rag picker in Mumbai, India. The fellow had found a large number of pipes as he was going through rubbish bins and contacted Paresh. This is a tired and worn looking Kriswill. I knew looking at it even before the stamping was checked that this was a Kriswill because there is something distinctive about the shapes. The pipe is stamped (though it is faint now from wear) Kriswill Hand Made in Denmark. The pipe was filthy and unusable. I think it was from the generation who smoked a pipe to death and then pitched it. The finish on the pipe is very dirty and the sandblast is almost worn smooth. There is a thick cake in the bowl and a lava overflow on the rim top. I can see some damage to the inner edge of the rim but because of the cake and tars it is hard to know what the inner edge looks like. The stem was broken at the tenon and there was a very strange set up keeping the pieces together. I took photos of the pipe before cleaning it. The photos give a pretty clear picture of the shape of the pipe and its general condition when I received it. At first glance I thought that the tenon was broken off in the shank but as I examined it I came to believe it was even worse. It looked like someone had glued something in the shank and Gerry-rigged a connection to the stem. The photo below shows what I saw. What is not clear in the photo was a piece of metal in the centre of the mortise area. It looked like a tube but when I tried to push air through the shank it was absolutely plugged.I was going to have to try to drill out the shank but before I did that I examined the shank and stem more closely. The stem had been hacked pretty seriously so that the diameter was not even close to the diameter of the shank. In the centre of the mortise the metal tube turned out to be a 2 inch long finishing nail. It appears that the nail was used to keep the stem in place in the shank. For what? I don’t have an answer for that as it was utterly unsmokable. Once I removed the nail with a pair of needle nose pliers I was able to blow air through the shank. It was at least clear. I used a drill bit slightly larger than the mess in the shank and carefully drilled the shank. It did not work to clear out the shank! However, it was clear what was there – it was a tube made of masking or painters tape! I took a pen knife and twisted it into the mortise and was able to pull the tube free of the shank. The last photo shows everything that had been in the shank to hold the stem in place on the shank. I could surmise from the length of the stem what I would need for a replacement stem. I went through my can of stems and found one that had the right sized tenon and was the same length and width as the broken stem. It was a saddle stem instead of a taper but I liked the look of it on the pipe. I pushed it in place and took the following photos. I would need to reduce the diameter of the saddle, bend the stem and do a general cleanup, but it was a keeper. I took a photo of the stamping on the shank to show that it reads Kriswill. Underneath it says Hand Made in Denmark but that stamping is faint and only readable in a bright light or with a lens.With the stem chosen I set it aside to work on the bowl. I really hate working on dirty pipes! I can’t say enough how much I appreciate my brother Jeff doing the lion’s share of the reaming and cleaning before I even work on pipes… It is these few that I have to clean up that make me thankful and realize how much work he does before I get them here to restore. Thanks Jeff. The bowl had a thick cake and a heavy overflow of lava. It was obviously someone’s favourite pipe.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the smallest cutting head. The bowl on these old Kriswill pipes is conical so the PipNet only goes so far down the inside. I reamed out the bowl as far as the reamer would reach and then used Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to finish the project. I scraped the rim top with the pipe knife to remove the majority of the lava and could see that the rim edges and top were damaged with burn marks.To remove the damage to the top of the rim I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on it to remove the burned areas and the damage to the inner edge of the rim as much as possible. I am happy with how it turned out.I lightly beveled the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give it a cleaner look. The look of the bowl at this point is far better than when I started the rim clean up. I will still need to polish the rim and match the stain to the shank end smooth portion. Fortunately for me this old Kriswill originally had a smooth rim top so it will look like new.I polished the topped bowl rim with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. With each successive grit of micromesh the grain stood out more and gave a good finished look to the pipe. I liked what I saw when I looked at it. There was a little variation in stain colour between the rim top and the shank end so I decided to stain both to get a good blend. I used an Oak stain pen to match the colour of the shank and smooth spot where the stamping was. Once the stain had cured for that time I moved on to the next step in the process.It dawned on me at this point that I had been so intent on getting the plug out of the shank and topping the bowl that I forgot to clean out the shank! I normally do that right after reaming the bowl but forgot. It goes to show you that if you vary an habitual pattern even a bit you will leave steps out. I stopped the process and went back and cleaned out the shank and airway to the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol until the pipe was clean and smelled fresh.With the rim top and bowl polished and the shank and airway CLEAN, I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm 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 to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the darkening and lava are gone. The finish looks very good with the contrast between the rich, dark brown and the Oak stain on the rim and shank end. I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a file and a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to shape the diameter of the saddle portion of the stem to fit the diameter of the shank. It took a lot of filing and sanding to get it to this point but there is a lot of fine tuning work to do. The shank is not round but it is more of a vertical oval in shape so the stem will need to match it to have a seamless fit. It is a lot of hand shaping work to get the two to match. I sanded the scratches and the tooth marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to bring the shank and saddle portion into line. I further sanded and shape it with 400 grit sandpaper to remove the scratches. This is the beginning of the polishing process on the stem. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil and put it back in the shank to take progress photos. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This pipe has had quite a journey to this point in time and space. It somehow traveled from Denmark where it was made to Mumbai, India. There is was found abandoned, binned and found by a rag picker who then sold it to Paresh in another region of India. From Paresh it traveled to me in Vancouver, Canada. In April it will travel to Nepal with me and back Paresh in India. I only wish that it could tell its story. All I know is that I have extended its life of usefulness and given its purpose back as it was intended.

I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 contrasting grain came alive with the buffing. The rich contrasting browns and black colouring works well with the new, polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. I will be taking this pipe with me to India soon and giving it back to Paresh. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this battered and weary Kriswill.

A Fresh Lease on Life For a Tired Looking “Count”!


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

A few months back I had restored two Kriswill pipes from my grandfather’s collection; a “CHIEF” and a “GOLDEN CLIPPER”. Both these pipes were a big challenge to restore and took considerable time and effort. However, the end results on both these pipes were highly satisfying!! To those interested in reading the write up on both these pipes, here are the links; https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/04/breathing-new-life-into-a-kriswill-chief-20/

https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/11/restoring-a-kriswill-golden-clipper/

This is the third Kriswill from my grandfather’s collection, a sandblasted KRISWILL “COUNT” in an impressive Oom Paul shape. The sandblast follows the beautiful grain pattern on the stummel surface and on the steeply raking shank, save for the smooth portion on the left side of the shank which bears the only stamping visible on the pipe and is stamped as “KRISWILL” over “COUNT” over “HANDMADE IN DENMARK”. This smooth surface extends to the shank end and forms a smooth ring all around. When polished and revitalized, this ring will contrast beautifully against the glossy black of the vulcanite stem. The full bent vulcanite stem is devoid of any stamping.

While working on the Kriswill Chief and Golden Clipper, I had researched the brand and detailed information can be referred to on the links provided above.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
Age definitely shows on the stummel surface!!! The briar is dull and lifeless and has taken on a layer of aged patina, through which one can make out the beautiful sandblast patterns all around which follow the grains. There is a slight overflow of lava on to the stummel surface. A thorough cleaning of the stummel followed by polish will accentuate the sandblast pattern on the stummel. There is an uneven buildup of cake in the chamber with a thicker layer seen at the bottom half of the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be ascertained only after the cake has been removed completely and taken down to bare briar. The bowl feels robust and solid to the touch from the outside. This issue should be a breeze to address.The rim top has darkened on the due to a slight overflow of lava. This can be seen in pictures above. The condition of the inner and outer edge and rim top is pristine. The shank end of the pipe is clean. However, the mortise does show signs of accumulated dried oils, tars and remnants of ash, greatly restricting the air flow.The vulcanite stem has tooth indentations and minor tooth chatter on the upper and lower surface. It is heavily oxidized. The air flow through the stems is laborious to say the least. The fit of the stem in to the mortise is very loose, which will loosen further after the mortise and tenon have been cleaned. These issues will need to be addressed.THE PROCESS
I started this project by reaming the chamber with size 2 and followed it up with size 3 head of PipNet reamer. I used a 220 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber of the pipe. Once I had reached the bare briar, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust and also rid the chamber of all ghost smells. The walls of the chamber are nice and solid with no signs of heat fissures or cracks. I followed up the reaming by cleaning the mortise and air way of the pipe using hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners, q-tips dipped in alcohol. The mortise and the draught hole were given a final clean with shank brushes dipped in alcohol. I dried the mortise with a rolled paper napkin. The shank internals and the draught hole are now nice and clean with an open and full draw.I cleaned out the internals of the stem using hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. I scraped the dried oils and tars from the tenon with the sharp edge of my fabricated dental spatula. The deep bite marks on the stem were flamed using a Bic lighter. However, this did not work. From my experience, I have learnt that getting rid of the oxidation from and around the surface to be filled helps in subsequent better blending of the fill with the stem surface. With a folded piece of used 150 grit sand paper, I sand the area that is required to be filled. I cleaned the sanded portion of the stem with cotton pad dipped in alcohol and spot filled the damaged area with a mixture of activated charcoal and clear superglue. I set the stem aside for the fill to cure.Now, it was the turn of the stummel to get cleaned up. Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the stummel, cleaning the surface thoroughly. Special attention was paid to scrub out all the dirt and dust from the crevices in the sandblast on the stummel and shank. I cleaned the plateau rim and shank end too. The stummel, plateau shank end and rim top were dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. I took some extra efforts to work the balm in to the sandblast finish of the bowl. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. With the stummel nice and clean and attractive, I worked the stem of the “COUNT”. I sharpened the lip edges using a needle file and sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. By mere sanding itself, the minor tooth marks seen on stem surfaces were completely addressed. This process also eliminated the deep oxidation seen on the vulcanite stem. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The internals of the stem was cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The pictures of the process and final results are shown below. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my local machine which is similar to a Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to each of the three pipes. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the stummel and the stem. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe, with the dark brown hues of the sandblast stummel contrasting with the shiny black stem, looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs speak for themselves. If only the pipe could tell some of my grand Old man’s stories and recount incidents witnessed while being smoked.…………… Cheers!!

Restoring a Kriswill “Golden Clipper”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

“………. and now make me handsome and desirable too!!!!!” This is what the sibling of the Kriswill “CHIEF”, the “GOLDEN CLIPPER” appeared to be demanding of me and who am I to refuse this lovely pipe. So here I am with all my enthusiasm to work on this beautiful pipe with mixed grains.

This was one of the pair of Kriswill pipes which was dug out by my younger daughter from the large pile of pipes, the other being Kriswill “CHIEF”. Both these beauties had an issue with their stems. The stem of the “CHIEF” did not sit flush with the shank and appeared smaller in diameter compared to the shank, while the stem of the “GOLDEN CLIPPER” sat flushed with the shank but was larger in diameter than the shank. I addressed this issue in an ingenious way and completed the restoration of the “CHIEF”. For those interested in knowing the issue of stem in detail, process to address it and the complete restoration, please follow the link https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/04/breathing-new-life-into-a-kriswill-chief-20/. I am sure you will find it an interesting read.

My joys knew no bounds when the “CHIEF’S” stem fit perfectly like a glove in the shank of the “CLIPPER” (the time-consuming, cautious, accurate and nerve-wracking but enjoyable work of matching the stem and shank of the “CHIEF” still fresh in my mind!!!!!!). Here are the pictures of a perfectly matching stem and shank on the CLIPPER.This KRISWILL “GOLDEN CLIPPER” has a medium sized bowl with mixed grain. It is stamped “KRISWILL” over “GOLDEN CLIPPER” over “HANDMADE IN DENMARK” on the left side of the shank. At the bottom of the shank and close to the edge of the shank where it takes the stem, is stamped with number “54”.As I had determined the dating of this pipe, while searching information for the “CHIEF”, from 1970s (the snowflakes stamp on the stem and block letters on the shank were adopted post 1970), I proceeded to carry out a visual inspection of the condition of the pipe in my hand. This helps me map the road to restoring the pipe by identifying the issues involved and identify methods/ options to address the same.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION

The bowl is covered in dust, oils, tars and grime of yesteryear. It is filled with a thick cake and the lava has overflowed on to the rim. I would still say that this bowl is not as heavily caked as I have gotten used to with my grand old man’s pipes. The cake has completely dried out.The rim surface is pock-marked with few minor dents and dings of being banged around. Exact extent of damage, there appears to be some, to the inner edge will be known after the bowl has been reamed down to its bare briar. The outer edge of the rim appears to be in decent condition.The interchanging of stem with the CHIEF ensured a perfect fit of the stem on this pipe and required no matching the fit to the shank end. The stem is, again comparatively to what I have dealt with before, lightly oxidized with light tooth chatter. The lip has been bitten off at one place and will need to be rebuilt and reshaped. There is some calcification seen around the lip on either surface. As I have come to expect, the airway in the stem is blocked and the mortise is clogged with gunk, debris and tars. I will need to clean both to ensure an open draw.The stummel needs to be cleaned. I will have to decide if I should retain the stain finish or polish it to its natural look and match it to its bigger sibling, the “CHIEF”.
THE PROCESS
Abha, my wife, dealt with the cake by reaming the chamber with a Kleen Reem pipe tool and a British Buttner pipe tool. Using the fabricated pipe knife, she further scraped the cake from the bottom of the bowl and also the walls of the chamber. She was especially very careful while reaming with the knife so as not to damage the inner edge of the rim. Once the solid briar was exposed, she further smoothed the walls and removed remaining cake by sanding with a 180 followed by 220 and 600 grit sand paper. Another advantage of this process is the elimination of traces of ghosting to a great extent. She gently scraped the rim top with the sharp edge of the knife and removed the accumulated overflow of lava. Abha followed this by scrubbing the chamber walls with cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed the fine cake dust, leaving the chamber clean, fresh and smooth. As can be seen from the picture, after the cleaning, the dents and dings are more pronounced and will need to be addressed. Further, if observed closely, there is a small chip to the inner edge which can be seen on the right side in the 3 o’clock direction. I had the following two courses of action to choose from to address these issues:-
(a)        Create a slight bevel on the inner edge to eliminate the inner edge chip.
(b)        Topping the rim on a topping board.

Abha suggested proceeding with the second option since the “CHIEF” was without a bevel and as these were together, she wanted to maintain the similarities as far as possible. I concurred with her since topping will also address the minor dents and dings seen on the rim top. I gently topped the stummel on a 220 grit sand paper, frequently checking the progress.  This is very important since you do not want to lose too much briar and there is always a fear of distorting the proportions of the pipe due to excessive sanding. How much sanding is sufficient, is a question to which the answer can never be quantified. For me the mantra is, topping or sanding should be kept to the minimum and preserve maximum briar even at the cost of very minute dents/ chips being visible.

I topped the bowl just enough to address the dents and dings on the rim surface. The small nick to the inner edge of the rim has also been addressed to a great extent, but not completely. It is barely perceptible in person and acceptable to me. Hence, I left it at that!!I cleaned out the internals of the shank/ mortise and airway using pipe cleaners, cue tips and isopropyl alcohol. Thereafter using undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and tooth brush, I cleaned all the tars, oils, dust and grime from the bowl and washed it under running water. I wiped it down with paper towels and a soft cotton cloth.

Using a brown stain pen (Yes!!! I finally have them, thanks to my guru, Mr. Steve who had diligently packed them with the pipes that he had sent me after repairs, when he learnt that I was unable lay my hands on them), I stained the rim to match the rest of the bowl and set it aside to dry out. In my haste to finish the restoration, I forgot to click pictures of the above mentioned process and the look of the pipe at this stage.

While the stummel was kept aside for drying, I turned my attention to the stem. Starting with the use of Bic lighter, I painted the surface with its flame to raise the tooth chatter and bite marks as much as possible. I scrubbed the stem with a piece of moist Mr. Magic Clean sponge to clean the stem of the calcification. Minor tooth chatter was addressed to a great extent, however, some stubborn and deep bite marks and the bitten off lip stood out like sore thumb!!! Having learnt my lessons and working around the handicap of glue, I spot applied clear CA superglue with a tooth pick and set it aside to cure over night. The next morning, I applied another layer of the superglue and set it aside to cure. The reason I decided to adopt this technique is because the glue I have and available to me is of very thin consistency and hence the layering technique. After 24 hours, I checked the fills and proceeded to sand down the fills and reshape the edge of the button with a flat head needle file to match the surface of the stem. Using a 220 grit sand paper followed by wet 320 grit sand paper, I evened out the fill and removed oxidation from the stem surface. Thereafter, I used micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 pads. I deeply rubbed a very small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil after every three pads. I am pleased with the way the stem has turned out. It is now smooth and shiny.Using normal and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol, I completely cleaned out the airway in the stem till the pipe cleaners came out nice and clean from the other end. However, when I checked the draw, I found it to be constricted and laborious. It was not a free flowing and open draw. I checked the alignment of the airway in the stem and shank and realized that the airway was not aligned. With a rounded needle file, I file down the tenon hole and the mortise opening in the shank to the point where there are perfectly aligned. Now the draw is full and open.

By this time, the stain on the rim top has dried out and I applied a small quantity of Before and After Restoration balm to the entire surface of the stummel, including the rim top. This product is absolutely fantastic as it freshens up the briar and makes the grain to pop out. Using a horse hair shoe brush, I buffed the bowl. Later, with a soft cotton cloth, I polished it to a nice shine. As a final touch, I rubbed a very small quantity of PARAGON wax on to the stem and the stummel. A few seconds later, using muscle power and a microfiber cloth, I polished the entire pipe to a lovely shine. Here are the pictures of the finished pipe. Hope you enjoyed reading the write up and yes, my apologies for the lack of pictures since I had to catch a flight late in the evening to rejoin my duty station, I forgot to take pictures at this stage as completing the restoration was priority task.

Breathing New Life into a Kriswill “Chief” # 20


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had completed the refurbishing of LANE ERA CHARATAN’S MAKE “SPECIAL” and thoroughly enjoyed the process. Apart from preserving memories, the thing that I enjoy the most while refurbishing/ restoring my inherited (and some purchased) pipe collection, is the transformation of the pipe that unfolds before your eyes as you progress. It is something akin to a flower bud that gradually blooms and opens itself in all its beauty for you to feast your eyes upon. This is what I love when I work on a pipe.

While rummaging through the large box with an equally large number of my inherited pipes with my younger 10 year old daughter, she laid her hands on a pair of pipes with “SHINING SUN”, as she liked to call it, on its stem. With the selection of next two projects decided by her, I had a closer look at these pipes. These were a pair of KRISWILLS, one stamped as “CHIEF” and the other as “GOLDEN CLIPPER”. The first thing that struck me was that there was something amiss with the way the stems sat into the shank of each pipe. The “CHIEF” did not have its stem sitting flush with the shank. Also, the shank’s outer diameter appeared larger than that of the stem. The “GOLDEN CLIPPER” had its stem flush with the shank; however the diameter of the stem was larger than that of the shank. The following picture will clarify what exactly I was faced with……

CLIPPER

CHIEF

As I was wondering what could be done to address this issue and surfing the net for buying new/ used original stems for these pipes, Abha, my wife who was having a closer look at both these pipes simply interchanged the stems and surprise of all surprises, the stem that was on the “CHIEF”, sat flushed and perfectly matching with the shank of the “CLIPPER”. However after considerable effort, though the stem that was on the “CLIPPER” sat flushed with the shank of the “CHIEF”, the diameter of the shank was larger than that of the stem. So now what we have is a KRISWILL “GOLDEN CLIPPER” with a perfectly matching and fitting original stem and a KRISWILL “CHIEF” with a fitting, but mismatched stem diameter.

KRISWILL “CHIEF”

KRISWILL “GOLDEN CLIPPER”

I discussed with Abha and it was decided that since the “CLIPPER” has a perfect stem match, I would work on the “CHIEF” and make the shank match the stem. With this decision made, I kept the CLIPPER aside and took the “CHIEF” into my hands.

The CHIEF has a nice, deep bowl and nicely fills the hand. The size, weight and heft of the pipe is just beautiful. Beautiful cross grains adorn the sides and the back of the bowl while the front of the bowl boasts lovely mixed grains of swirls, flame and Birdseye. It is stamped “KRISWILL” over “CHIEF” over “HANDMADE IN DENMARK”. At the bottom of the shank where it meets the stem, is the numeral “20” and yes…. this positioning of the number did cause me a great deal of grief during the process of sanding!!! All the stamps are crisp and clear.I was curious to know about the history, geography and carvers for Kriswill while attempting to date this pipe. While referring to “Pipephil” I came across this information which I have reproduced below verbatim (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-k3.html)

“Kriswill is a brand of Kriswork Briar Trading, in Kolding (Denmark) established about 1955. Some of Kriswill pipes were designed by Sigvard Bernadotte, Swedish prince and brother to the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark. He collaborated with his Danish partner Acton Bjørn. When the company went bankrupt in the late 1970s it was on a level with Stanwell. Dan Pipe Cigar & Company (Hafenstrasse 30 D-21481 Lauenburg/Elbe, Ge) bought the rights to use the name and it is Holmer Knudsen and/or Poul Winsløw who make the Kriswill line. Nørding, on its side, bought the plant and introduced a Kriswell line”.

Prior to 1970 the stampings are in script letters on the shank and on the mouthpiece. The star on the stem and block letters on the shank were introduced from that date on.

While researching for more information on Kriswill pipes on “Pipedia”, I came across this additional information which is reproduced below:

Kriswill was one of the large pipe manufacturers in Denmark during the 1960s and 1970s, and I believe closed around 20 years ago. Their catalog cover read “By Appointment to the Royal Danish Court, KRISWILL, Kriswork Briar Trading, Briar Pipes Hand Made in Denmark.”

Thus, from the above information, it is safe to assume that this pipe is post 1970.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
As with all other pipes, the CHIEF, too is covered in dust, oils and grime of all past years, though comparatively to a lesser extent. The chamber is heavily caked with lava overflowing on to the top of the rim. A few small dents and dings, though minor, are visible on the outer edge of the bowl. The condition of the inner edge and that of the inner surface of the chamber will be ascertained once the bowl has been reamed and the lava removed from the rim top.The airway in the shank is blocked and air does not flow through the shank. Close observation of the shank revealed presence of debris in the mortise. This needs to be cleared and cleaned. Maybe this will also help in a smooth and snug fit of the stem into the mortise.The stem shows calcification near the button and deep oxidation all along the stem. There are bite marks near the button and some deep tooth chatter. The button has been bitten and will need to be reconstructed.THE PROCESS
Since this would be the first time I would be attempting to undertake the process of adjusting the fit of the tenon and matching the diameter of the shank with that of the stem, I Face timed with Mr. Steve who advised me to, firstly, be very careful during the sanding of the shank so as not to lose too much briar making the shank diameter too small, secondly, he told me to ensure that the entire shank should be sanded such that the taper at the shank end is not abrupt and blends well into the overall shape of the pipe. Thirdly, it is most important to exercise a lot of patience and diligence while working and check very frequently the fit, finish and shape of the shank and the stem.

I started with cleaning the shank of all debris using a dental spatula, pipe cleaners, cue tips and isopropyl alcohol. I was surprised to see the amount of gunk that was removed from the shank. I tried to fit the stem on to the shank. Though the tenon has inched further in to the mortise, a prominent gap is clearly visible between the shank end and the stem.Using a 220 grit sand paper, I very carefully began the process of sanding down the tenon, checking ever so frequently for the fit of the tenon into the mortise. Finally I was able to achieve a perfect fit of the stem and the shank with all the right noises!!!!Now that the issue of fit of the stem into the shank has been addressed, I turned my attention to match the size of the diameter of the shank with that of the stem by sanding down the shank. I started this sanding using a 220 grit sand paper. This process was made difficult and uneven at the bottom of the shank due to the stamped number “20” being very close to the shank end.I took care so as not to sand off the stampings on the shank and stem by masking them. Once I was satisfied with the results of sanding with 220 grit paper, I switched to sanding with a 440 grit sand paper to further blend the shank and stem. Mr. Steve’s advice of being very diligent and frequent checking was always ringing in my ears as I progressed towards the goal of matching the shank with that of the stem. A word of caution for first timers like!!!!!!!! During the process of sanding you may notice a considerable dip at the shank end.This signifies that the sanding of the shank end is excessive and thus sanding needs to be done from further up the shank and a bit over the stem too. This will ensure a seamless joint between the shank and the stem.

Using a 220 grit sand paper, I sanded the shank to match the dip at the shank end and also a little of the stem end, all through taking care of the stampings on the shank and stem. I further evened out the shank and the joint with 600 and 800 grit sand paper. Once I was satisfied with the seamlessness of the joint, I showed it to Abha, my wife and she too approved of the job done. Thereafter, I further blended and merged the entire shank and the stem through the joint using micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 pads and dry sanding with 3200 through to 12000 pads. I wiped the sanded area with alcohol after each pad to remove the sanding dust. Boy!! Was I pleased with the results, hell YEAH!!!! I shared pictures of the end result with Mr. Steve on What’sApp and he too approved of the seamless joint. Next I turned my attention to the stem and painted the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to raise the tooth chatter and minor bite marks. The deeper tooth bites with a mixture of activated charcoal and clear CA superglue and let it cure for 24 hours. Using a flat head file needle, these fills were blended into the surface of the stem. For a better blending of the fill, I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The internals of the stem was cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The finished stem is shown below.With the stem taken care of, I once again turned my attention to the stummel. The sanded shank was lighter hued as compared to the rest of the stummel. Since I was still awaiting my stain pens, which have been held back in custom clearance for the last 50 odd days and also since I have not yet graduated to use of aniline stains/ dyes, I was contemplating what could be done to blend the finish of the shank with that of the stummel. Being the intelligent of the two, Abha suggested that the bowl could be sanded using micromesh pads to match the finish of the shank.  That decided, Abha reamed the chamber using Kleen Reem pipe tool and with the fabricated pipe, she removed the remaining cake from the chamber.With the same knife, she gently removed all the overflow of lava, oils and tars from the rim surface. She further sanded the interiors of the chamber with a 220 grit sand paper to get rid of the last traces of the remaining cake. She also topped the rim on 220 grit sand paper and evened out all the remaining lava and minor dings and dents that were revealed after the lava was removed.  Using isopropyl alcohol, hard bristle and normal pipe cleaners, she completely cleaned out the internals of the shank.I cleaned the external surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap and tooth brush to remove all the grime and dirt and rinsed it under running water. I took care that no water enters the chamber and the shank. Using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth, I completely dried the surface. Thereafter began the entire process of sanding down with micromesh pads as enumerated while working on the shank. I also worked on the rim top to match it with the rest of the bowl. The bowl has some interesting grains and patterns.   I rubbed in some Before and After Restoration balm in to the briar to bring out the shine and enliven the briar. After a few minutes, I rubbed and polished the bowl with a soft cloth. Finally, I finished the pipe by rubbing a small quantity of Paragon wax and polishing it using raw and undiluted muscle power and a microfiber cloth. I am very pleased and happy with the way the complete project has turned out. It was an exhilarating experience to be able to appreciate the transformation and a sense of accomplishment that accompanied it. I must thank Abha and Mr. Steve for walking with me through this project. Here are the pictures of the finished pipe.