Blog by Steve Laug
Alex has been an ongoing source of restoration projects for me for a few years now. I actually have a box of pipes that Alex drops by periodically and adds new pipes for work. It has been fun to see him pick up the restoration hobby himself lately. He leaves the harder ones to me to work on – whether harder in terms of issues or harder in terms of cleaning. I have quite a few of his to work on so I spread them among the others that I am working on. This next pipe is an interesting older Kaywoodie Hand Made Rhodesian with an almost Custom Bilt rustication pattern around the bowl. The difference to me is that this beauty has some stunning grain in the smooth portions and the rustication is less random and more methodically chosen to highlight some of the grain features. The pipe is stamped Hand Made over Kaywoodie on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank. On the right side there is a stamp that reads Imported Briar. It has been in the box for quite a while now so this afternoon I took it to the work table. The finish is a combination of reddish browns and dark brown in the rusticated portions. The contrast is quite beautiful though a little dull as it has not been used or cared for in a long time. The rim top had an inward bevel that had some darkening and burn damage to the inner edge on the front right and back of the bowl. The pipe had been reamed before Alex received it and really was quite clean. The push stem was lightly oxidized and had Kaywoodie white logo with a black cloverleaf making it an older pipe. There were hash marks and tooth marks on both sides of the stem ahead of the button. Overall the pipe was in good condition. I took some photos of the pipe as I received it. I took a close up photo of the rim top. It shows some darkening on the right side of the inward beveled top. The outer edges look good. The photos of the stem show hash marks and tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. They are deep scratches/gouges in the vulcanite that have filled in with calcification. The stem is also quite oxidized.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. You can see that it reads as noted above.I have worked on a few of the Kaywoodie Hand Made over the years and have found in the past that they were listed as Oversize Kaywoodie pipes. I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what information I could gather there on the oversize pipes (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-kaywoodie-2.html#oversizekaywoodie). I have included a screen capture of the information on that site for quick reference. The basic information I gather there was that the pipe had in all probability been noted in the 1947 Kaywoodie Catalogue. It also made it clear that all the Oversize models are stamped Hand Made.I then turned to Pipedia and under the general information did not find much helpful that I did not already know. It is a great read regarding the history of the brand and its development from the older KBB and KB&B brand pipes. However it did have follow up information in the end notes on the page and that took me to a series of Catalogues (1937, 1947 and 1955). The Hand Made line shows up first in the 1947 Catalogue that was included. I read through it and that is where I found some additional information to help me in my quest. Here is a link to the 1947 Catalogue for your reading pleasure (https://pipedia.org/images/6/61/Kaywoodie_1947.pdf). I have included a screen capture of the section in the catalogue about the Oversize Kaywoodies. I have included that below. I have also included two of the Catalogue pages that show the oversize Hand Made pipes. The one I am working on while similar to the Hand Carved Colossus and the Hand Carved John Henry is significantly different. This one is carved with the patterns but has a tapered push stem rather than the typical screw mounted Kaywoodie. This is a beautifully styled and positioned Rhodesian shape has a tapered vulcanite push stem that fits proportionally well. The carved areas or “worm trails” around the bowl are separated by smooth well grained portions of briar that highlight the grain. The combination of brown stains on the finish makes it quite stunning. Now it was time to work on Alex’s pipe. I started the work by addressing the issues with the rim top first. I ran some pipe cleaners through the bowl and stem and it was spotless so I decided to deal with rim top damage. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the beveled rim top to remove the darkening. I sanded the rim top and edges of the bowl with the sandpaper to get rid of the damage. Once I was finished the rim and edges were smooth.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The polishing gave the bowl a rich shine. After polishing the rim it was slightly lighter than the other smooth portions of the bowl. I used a Maple Stain Pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl and blend the new finished rim into the surrounding pipe.I rubbed it down with Before and After Restoration Balm. It is a product developed by Mark Hoover to clean, enliven and protect briar. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. You can see the results in the photos below. I set the bowl aside and turned to address the light tooth marks, chatter and gouges on the stem surface. I sanded both the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damages to the vulcanite. Fortunately they were not too deep so they came out fairly quickly. I also did a quick sanding to remove the oxidation on the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I polished it with Before and After Pipe Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping the stem down with some No Oxy Oil that received from Briarville Pipe Repair to try out and get a sense of its value to me and others. Once I finished I put the stem back on the shank and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish briar and vulcanite. I gave the stem a vigorous polish being careful around the white spot. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This Kaywoodie Hand Made is a great piece of pipe history and looks better than when I began the process. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer Bowl Diameter: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber Diameter: ¾ of an inch. The pipe will soon be heading back to Alex so he can continue to enjoy it. I have told him that if he ever wants to part with it I get the right of first refusal. Thanks for walking with me through the restoration.