Tag Archives: LHS pipes

Restoring A New-To-Me Brand – an LHS “Sternies”


Blog by Paresh

The next pipe that I picked up for restoration is a small sized classic straight Dublin shaped pipe that feels ultra light in the hand with a nice and comfortable feel in the mouth when clenched. This pipe came in one of couple of pipe lots that I had purchased on Etsy a few years ago and had been languishing in the lot of about 40- 50 pipes that Abha had done the initial cleaning for me. It languished at the bottom of the pile for no other reason than the fact that it was so nondescript that it did not attract my attention. However, with the continuing lockdown and partial suspension of work by Postal and Customs departments, my tobacco stock is fast depleting and this forced me to search for small bowled pipes. Thus, this pipe has now moved up in the line for restoration.

This pipe has a quaint little bowl size with some nice mixed grains. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “STERNIES” over “LHS” in a diamond over “IMPORTED BRIAR”. The set of stampings on this pipe are all crisp and in block capital letters. The vulcanite stem is devoid of any stampings.While researching any pipe, the first site that I visit is rebornpipes.com since this is one site where I usually find well researched information on any brand that has anything, even remotely related, to pipes!! Now, till the time I got this pipe on my work table, I had not heard or read anything on this pipe brand and now that I have decided to work on it, rebornpipes does have a write up by Steve on this brand. He had thoroughly researched this brand and makes for an interesting read. Here is the link to the write up:-

https://rebornpipes.com/2020/09/01/new-life-for-an-american-made-lhs-certified-purex-pencil-shank-prince/

To avoid the proverbial ‘reinventing the wheel’, I urge readers to go through the above write up to get a better feel of the brand. However, only a few relevant excerpts of the information that would help me in establishing the provenance of the pipe are reproduced below.

The L&H Stern Inc. was established by Ludwig Stern (1877-1942) in 1911. His brother Hugo (1872-?) acted as vice-president & secretary. The firm moved to 56 Pearl St. Brooklyn in 1920. It closed down in the 1960s. LHS was one of the main pipe suppliers for US soldiers during WWII.

The brand had 8 pipe grades listed in the 1944 issue of Outdoor Magazine.

Sterncrest Ultrafine $ 10

Sterncrest 14K $ 7.50

Sterncrest Sterling $ 5

Certified Purex $3.50

Select Grain $2.50

Sivercrest $ 2

Superfine Purex $1.50

Sculpted Purex $1.50

 In addition to the above grades, a 1944 catalog also listed the following lines and models:

Barrister

Marwyn

Park Lane

Radmanol

Warwick

Additional notes: Some models were made before, during, and after WWII. LHS was one of the main pipe supplier for US soldiers during WWII.

Pre-war pipes were stamped Real Briar Root, or Briar Root. Some war time pipes were made from domestic briar or “American” briar and were void of any briar stampings. Many American pipe makers lost their overseas supply of Mediterranean briar shortly before and during the war. Post war pipes were stamped Imported Briar to assure customers that they were buying premium briar once again.

The grade “STERNIES”, as seen on the pipe on my work table, finds no mention in the 8 grades of pipe that have been listed in the 1944 catalogue. Also the fact that the stem bears no logo of two dots is a mystery (or has it been completely buffed off?). That fact apart, the stamping “IMPORTED BRIAR” points to post WW II production.

Thus, the LHS pipe currently on my work table is from the period 1945 to 1960s when LHS closed shop!!

Initial Visual Inspection
As I have mentioned above, this pipe was initially handled by Abha and she is not in a habit of taking many pictures as she works on each piece of briar. There are not many pictures to give the readers an idea about the condition of the pipe before she had worked her magic and presented me with a nice clean canvas to carry forward my repair and refurbishing tasks. I have included a description of the initial condition of the pipe as documented by her. This pipe has a rather small bowl in a classic Dublin shape and has a chamber depth of about 1.1 inches. The chamber had an even layer of dry flaky cake which is not very thick. 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 surface was covered in overflowing lava. The inner rim edge has minor charring in 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock directions (encircled in pastel blue) with some minor dings all along the edge. The outer rim edge is mysteriously darkened in the 12 o’clock direction. The draught hole is clogged and restricts the free flow of air through it. The ghost smells in the chamber are very mild. The smooth stummel surface has some very beautiful grain patterns and has a coat of lacquer that has worn off at a number of places giving the surface a blotched appearance. The stummel shows signs of vintage in the form of many scratches, dents and dings that it has acquired over a period of time. There a couple of fills over the stummel surface and are easily noticeable (encircled in yellow). The briar has accumulated a lot of grime and dust imparting the stummel a lifeless and bone dry appearance. The shank end has an aluminum spacer ring separating the shank end from the stem end when threaded in. On closer observation, it can be seen that a portion of this spacer extends into the mortise and is threaded which matches with the stinger threads.    The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized. Some minor tooth chatter and tooth indentations are seen on both the upper and lower stem surfaces in the bite zone and at the bottom of the button edge. The threaded aluminum stinger tenon end had accumulated ash and oils/ tars that had dried out on the inside as well as on the outside. The horizontal slot has dried gunk embedded in to it which will have to be addressed.Initial Cleaning By Abha…
Abha, my wife, reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper and scrapped out the entire lava overflow from over the rim top surface. 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 using hard and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. She cleaned the stem surface under running warm water and scrubbed the surface oxidation from the stem using Scotch Brite pad and dish washing soap. The aluminum stinger was also similarly cleaned. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.    Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The cleaned up pipes presents a very clear picture of what needs to be done to restore this pipe to a decent and smokable condition. I really cannot thank Abha, my wife, enough for all the help and support that she extends me in my pursuance of this hobby. I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

As with all the cleaned pipes that Abha packs, there was a note in the zip lock pouch with issues that she had observed in the pipe. The first point was that she had not dunked the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution because of the metal stinger. The next issue that she pointed out was of the rim top surface not being even and the darkening of the inner rim edge. The third issue she pointed out was that the stummel surface had not cleaned up the way it usually does. Here are the pictures of the pipe as I had received. To be honest, the pipe had cleaned up nicely. What she thought was unclean stummel was in fact the old lacquer coat that had come off in patches. The two fills, encircled in yellow, are now plainly visible. The right side of the stummel shows a few dents/ dings. The aluminum spacer ring at the shank end is greatly oxidized and would need to be polished to a nice shine. The mortise is nice and clean. Sanding the stummel surface with a piece of 220 grit sand paper should address the issue of dings to a great extent. Once the stummel has been completely scrubbed and free of the old lacquer, I shall refresh the fills with a mix of briar dust and superglue. A vigorous scrub with Scotch Brit pad and Murphy’s Oil soap should suffice to remove the old peeling lacquer coat. In case this does not work, a wipe with pure Acetone on a cotton swab will definitely address this issue. After the aluminum spacer ring has been polished, it will provide a nice bling to the overall appearance of the pipe.   The chamber walls are sans any damage. The inner rim edge is in good condition save for light charring (encircled in green) and a chip (encircled in blue). The outer rim edge shows just a hint of darkening in 1 o’clock direction, but otherwise in excellent condition. The rim top surface is uneven to the touch. The draught hole is dead center and at the bottom of the heel and this construction geometry should make this pipe a fantastic smoker. Topping the rim surface should address the issues of uneven rim top, the charred outer rim edge while greatly reducing the inner rim edge damage. I shall, if need be, create a bevel to the inner edge to completely address the rim damage. The moment I saw and held the stem in my hands, I was not sure if the stem was vulcanite or made of some plastic derivative. It was very light weight and considerably harder than vulcanite. It was lightly oxidized and had minor tooth chatter on either surface in the bite zone. The button edges on either surface are slightly deformed with tooth indentations. I shall not risk heating the bite zone with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth chatter but would rather try and sand it out. In case required, I shall further use charcoal and superglue mix to address this issue. I need to sharpen the button edges and shall do so with a flat needle file. The Process
I embarked on the journey of restoring this pipe by addressing the stem first since it would take considerable time to repair and polish. Abha had done a fantastic job of cleaning the stem both internally and externally and this facilitated me to straight away sand the stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper to even out the raised tooth indentation and remove the oxidation from the surface. I follow it up by cleaning the surface with a cotton swab and alcohol. I wipe the stem with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap to deep clean the surface. The tooth chatter has been addressed to a very great extent. The minor tooth marks that remain will further reduce after I had sanded the stem surface with 320 to 1000 grit sand papers followed by the micromesh pads. The button edges are a lot straighter and crispier than before.I further sand the stem surface with 320 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sandpapers. I finished the sandpaper cycle by wet sanding the entire stem surface with a piece of 1000 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem with a moist cloth to remove the sanding dust and applied a small quantity of EVO to hydrate the stem.I completed the polishing cycle of the stem by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. The stem looks great with the tooth chatter nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I also polished the aluminum stinger and the spacer ring with micromesh pads. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and I am happy with the appearance of the stem at this point in restoration.  With the stem refurbishing nearly completed, save for final polish using Blue Diamond and wax, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush, Scotch Brit pad and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. I shall be candid in confessing that I was extra aggressive using the Scotch Brit pad as I was keen to completely remove the peeling lacquer coating over the stummel surface. After the scrub with oil soap, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I once again cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The two fills have gone soft and would need to be refreshed. The stummel has cleaned up nicely with the old lacquer coat completely removed from the surface. The ghost smells are completely eliminated and the pipe now smells fresh, odorless and clean. The shank air way is nice and open. I shall refresh the fills over the stummel surface with a mix of briar dust and superglue. Next I addressed the issues of the two fills in the stummel surface. With a sharp dental tool, I gouged out the fill on the right side of the stummel and one on the left side of the shank. Using the layering method, I filled these gouges with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue till the mound of the mix was slightly above the rest of the stummel surface. This helps in a better blending of the fill with the rest of the stummel surface while sanding and reduces the scratches caused by the use of a needle file since you have a correct perspective of the sanding that is required. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure. Using a flat needle file, I sand the fill till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding stummel surface. I sand the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to further blend in the fills with the stummel surface.   I topped the rim top surface on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently for the progress being made as I hate to loose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. The issue of uneven rim top surface has now been completely addressed. At this stage, the slight darkening to the outer edge too has been completely addressed while the charring to the inner edge, though eliminated to a great extent, is still discernible. I shall create a bevel to the inner edge to blend and mask the damaged edge with the rest of the inner edge.  The inner rim edge appeared to be slightly uneven at the front and at the back end of the rim top due to charring and I decided to mask it by creating a bevel. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I create a nice and even bevel on the inner edge. I was careful so as not to alter the profile of the stummel by excessive topping or creation of the bevel. I am pretty pleased with the appearance of the rim top and edges at this stage. The following pictures show the progress being made and improvements to the inner and outer rim edges. I wet sand the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress.I also polished the shank end aluminum spacer ring with the micromesh pads to a nice shine. 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. The few scratches and dings that were noticed over the stummel surface too have been addressed by this stage due to the sanding and micromesh pad polishing. The fills are quite evident and whether to mask it using a dark brown stain or let it be, is a decision that I shall take subsequently.    Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the stummel surface with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. I worked the restoration balm deep in to the briar wood. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. The stummel looks very handsome with the contrasting dark and light brown hues. The fills have blended in quite nicely with the surrounding dark brown hues taken on by the stummel surface after the application of the balm. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.    With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks fresh, vibrant and ready for its next innings with a piper interested in adding it to his/ her collection. This piece of briar feels fantastic in hands with its ultra lightweight, classic shape and a size that is just right for a quick smoke in between breaks. Thank you to all esteemed readers for joining me and walking with me through this restoration. Cheers!! P.S. I had consulted with my wife, Abha, whether or not to stain this pipe with a dark brown stain to mask the fills since she has a better understanding and appreciation of colors than me (isn’t that true for all the men?). She suggested that the natural color of the briar looks smashing while any staining will hide the grain patterns and that the fills actually blend in nicely when seen in person. It’s actually a fact that pictures highlights flaws more than they actually appear in person.

Praying for the safety and well being of all readers and their loved ones…

A Rebirth for LHS Sterncrest Hunter’s Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction from Schulenburg, Texas, USA. It is classic Billiard with mixed grain around the bowl and shank. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Sterncrest [over] LHS in a Diamond [over] Imported Briar. There is a Sterling Silver band on the shank that has the image of a hunting dog (pointer) [over] Sterling on the top side. I have worked on and restored quite a few American made LHS (LH Stern) pipes over the years and quite a few have been Sterncrest. However, this is the first one I have done with the hunting dog etched in the Sterling Silver band. The finish was very dirty with dust and grime ground into the bowl sides and obscuring the grain. There were some putty fills and deep nicks in the finish around the bowl sides. There was a very thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the beveled rim top. The silver band was oxidized and dirty. The vulcanite stem was oxidized, calcified and had deep tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides. Jeff took photos of the pipe to show its general condition before he did his cleanup.  As I mentioned above the exterior of the pipe was very dirty – grime and grit ground in from years of use and sitting. I have to say that this was obviously someone’s favourite pipe judging from the buildup in the bowl. The rim top was covered with a coat of thick lava that overflowed from the extremely thick cake in the bowl. It was hard to know what the rim edges looked like because of the lava.  The stem was dirty and oxidized with tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside of the stem at the button. Jeff took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to give a better feel for the condition of the briar around the bowl. The pink fills are visible all around the bowl sides.  The next photos show the stamping on the side of the shank and the etched hunting dog on the band. The stamping is very readable. It reads as noted above. The stamped dog comes through in the tarnished silver in the pictures.  Jeff took a photo of the stem removed from the shank to show the pressure fit stinger in the tenon.Jeff cleaned the pipes with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. The pipe was a real mess when he got it and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. I was surprised to see how well it turned out. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. The putty fills had all fallen out on the sides and front of the bowl and left pits.  Jeff scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked a lot better. I took photos before I started my part of the work.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show what cleaned bowl and rim top looked like. The rim top shows some darkening and some damage to the inner edge of the rim on the front. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth chatter and marks on the stem surface.     I took a photo of the stamping on the side of the shank and it is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above. I removed the stem for the shank and took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a picture of what it looked like. It is a classically shaped Billiard. To me the stinger needs to go!Now, on to my part of the restoration of this Sterncrest Billiard. I decided to clean up the damaged rim top and inner edge of the bowl. I cleaned up the inside of the bowl edges with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded the darkening on the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. Once I was finished the top and edge looked a lot better.  I was glad to see that all of the pink putty fills had come out during the cleanup process. I decided to replace them with briar dust and clear super glue. There were actually quite a few of them. I did the repairs to the fills and took photos of the “freckles” around the mid-bowl on the left, front and right sides. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to remove the debris and the heavier stained areas and even out the coverage on the bowl. I wanted to make the stain more transparent so the grain would show through the finish.   I polished the top of the bowl, the repaired areas and the entirety of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.   I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for 10-15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.     I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I heated the stinger and wiggled it free from the tenon with a pair of pliers. I dropped the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover to clean up the remaining oxidation. I let it sit in the bath for 2 hours and then removed it and dried it off. I forgot to take a photo of the stem when I removed it from the bath. I dried it off and then filled in the deep tooth marks with black super glue. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once the repair had cured I used a flat rasp and a file to clean up the button edge and flatten out the repairs. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend the repairs into the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. 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.  I left a little oxidation around the stamp so as not to damage it more.      This LHS Sterncrest Hunter’s Billiard turned out to be a great looking pipe. The brown stained brown mixed finish (smooth/rusticated) on the pipe is in great condition and works 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. 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 LHS Sterncrest Billiard fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36g/1.27oz. If you are interested in carrying on the pipe man’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

New Life for an American Made LHS Certified Purex Pencil Shank Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is another American made pipe from LH Stern of Brooklyn, New York. I will give more information on the brand later in the blog. This one is a classic smooth finished, grained flat bottom Prince with a thin taper vulcanite stem. It has a mix of grain around the bowl and shank sides. Jeff purchased it from an online auction on 03/06/18 from Nampa, Idaho, USA so it has been around the shop for a while. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Certified Purex [over] LHS in a diamond [over] Imported Briar. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the shape number 55. The pipe is dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and a thick lava overflow on the rim top. It looks like the inner edge of the rim is damaged on the back side of the bowl. The finish was dusty with grime ground into the finish around the sides of the bowl. The black vulcanite stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show their general condition. You can see the lava on the rim top and the thick cake in the bowl. There is damage on the rear inner edge of the bowl. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.      Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give an idea of the grain around the bowl. I cannot wait to see what it looks like once it is cleaned and polished. He took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank to capture it for me. It is clear and readable. I turned to Pipephil to get a feel for the history of the brand and have included a screen capture of the pertinent section on the site below (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-lhs.html). I quote:

The L&H Stern Inc. was established by Ludwig Stern (1877-1942) in 1911. His brother Hugo (1872-?) acted as vice-president & secretary. The firm moved to 56 Pearl St. Brooklyn in 1920. It closed down in the 1960s. LHS was one of the main pipe supplier for US soldiers during WWII.I turned to Pipedia for any additional information (https://pipedia.org/wiki/LHS). The article gave and expanded history of the brand and a list of the grades of pipes in 1944. I have included that below.

The brand had 8 pipe grades listed in the 1944 issue of Outdoor Magazine.

Sterncrest Ultrafine $ 10

Sterncrest 14K $ 7.50

Sterncrest Sterling $ 5

Certified Purex $3.50

Select Grain $2.50

Sivercrest $ 2

Superfine Purex $1.50

Sculpted Purex $1.50

 In addition to the above grades, a 1944 catalog also listed the following lines and models:

Barrister

Marwyn

Park Lane

Radmanol

Warwick

Additional notes: Some models were made before, during, and after WWII. LHS was one of the main pipe supplier for US soldiers during WWII.

Pre-war pipes were stamped Real Briar Root, or Briar Root. Some war time pipes were made from domestic briar, or “American” briar and were void of any briar stampings. Many American pipe makers lost their over seas supply of Mediterranean briar shortly before and during the war. Post war pipes were stamped Imported Briar to assure customers that they were buying premium briar once again.

Now I had a pretty good idea of how the pipe was stamped and made. With that information I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. Jeff had done an amazing job in removing all of the cake and the lava on the rim top. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove the lava and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed if off and recleaned the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The rim top and inner edge of the bowl shows damage and burned areas. It is out of round and will need some work. The close up photos of the stem shows that the surface of the stem is pitted. There are tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button.  I took a photo of the stamping on the side and the underside of the shank to show the condition after the cleanup. This stamping is readable and looks good.  I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe at this point. You can clearly see the condition, size and shape of the pipe.I started my part of the restoration work on this pipe by addressing the damage and darkening on the edge of the rim, particularly on the front and rear of the inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the bowl.  I started polishing the edge with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I sanded the outside of the briar with micromesh sanding pads to polish the finish. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiped it down with a damp pad after each pad.     I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about ten minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth.   This LHS Certified Purex Prince with a pencil shank and stem is a nice looking pipe. The finish looks very good and the grain stands out. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank sides during the process. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is an excellent example of the Purex line of pipes that were made by LHS Stern. The flow of the grain and the way the shape follows it is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This interesting LHS Certified Purex Prince is a great looking pipe in excellent condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

Restoring a Odd LH Stern Filtrex Air Cooled Filter Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is another odd one that I have looked at several times over the years and then put back in the box of pipes to be restored. We picked it up on EBay in 2017 out of Illinois and it has been sitting here since then. To me it is another pipe that characterizes the perpetual hunt for the perfect flavourful and cool smoke. Today I decided to bring it to the table and work on it. This one is an oddity made by LHS. It has a briar bowl with the screw holding it to the top of the metal tube that forms the shank. The smooth finished bowl is either a bulldog or Rhodesian bowl with the twin rings around the cap. The shank piece is oxidized aluminum with cooling fins and a threaded end cap that is removable for cleaning. The stem is plastic (perhaps nylon or an early acrylic). It was stamped on the stem with the LHS in a Diamond logo. There is no other information on the shank in terms of a line of pipes or a shape number. The pipe was dirty with grime ground into the finish. There was a cake in the bowl and lava overflow and bubbling of the finish on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim appeared to be in okay condition but we would know once it was cleaned. The stem was dirty and deep tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides. Jeff took photos of the pipe as it was when he received it from the EBay seller. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to give an idea of the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the condition of the rim top. The pipe was a mess and it would take a lot of work. He also took photos of the condition of the stem to give a picture of the shank. He ends with photos of the stem surface. You can see the tooth marks in the stem material on both sides of the stem.   He took a photo of the stamping on the topside of the stem. It is reads as noted above.Jeff took photos of the sides of the bowl and the condition of the exterior of the bowl and the aluminum shank that the bowl is screwed into. It really is an odd looking pipe. I am anxious to see it looks like when I take it apart. The shank end cap has knurled edges and I am wondering if it would be stuck in the shank and unmovable. There appears to be a shellac or varnish coat on the bowl to give it the shine that shows through the grime.    You can see that Jeff was able to remove the cap. The threads appear to be in excellent condition. The stem also came of the metal shank quite easily. Inside was a disintegrating paper filter that was really just a pile of debris. It was a mess.  He also included photos of the shank and stem. Before I started working on it I did a bit of research on the brand to see if I could find anything mentioned in the two sites I regularly check for background information. I turned first to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-lhs.html). There was a great summary of the history of the brand but nothing on this particular unique pipe. I include that summary below:

The L&H Stern Inc. was established by Ludwig Stern (1877-1942) in 1911. His brother Hugo (1872-?) acted as vice-president & secretary. The firm moved to 56 Pearl St. Brooklyn in 1920. It closed down in the 1960s. LHS was one of the main pipe suppliers for US soldiers during WWII.

I did a quick look at Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/LHS) and there was a longer version of the same information as well as lot of photos of the wide range of LHS produced pipes. It is well worth a visit however there was no information on this particular odd pipe. The one thing that was included that proved a gold mine was an LHS Catalogue from 1946. I have included the link as well as a screen capture of the FILTREX pipe and information included from the catalogue (https://pipedia.org/images/b/b8/LHS_Catalog_1946.pdf).

The page contained this information: The Filtrex pipe is probably the coolest smoking pipe yet made. The aluminum cooling coils with highly absorbent filter keeps the pipe cool and dry at all times. A package of 20 Filtrex absorbent filters free with each pipe. The Filtrex pipe can be had with solid rubber bits or “easy grip” plastic bits.

From there I turned to the Smoking metal collectors website to check out the possible information that it would provide (http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=224). It included two listing for the LHS Filtrex pipe stating that it came in two different sizes. I have included that information and photos below.

The diameter of this pipe is smaller than the normal Stern. Carries the LHS in a diamond logo on the plastic mouthpiece.  The larger of the two L H Stern pipes, identical except for size.    Now it was time to work on the pipe. Given the horrible condition of the pipe shown above I was wondering what it would look like after the cleanup. Jeff did an amazing job on this one. With odd design combining briar, aluminum and plastic it was a lot of detail work to get it clean. The pipe is similar in design Kirstens. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet Reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He cleaned out the internals of the shank and airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals of the pipe with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed with running water. The pipe looked a lot better than when he started. Internally it was spotless and smelled clean. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.      I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show the condition of the rim top and edges of the bowl. The outer edges were in okay condition. The inner edges had nick toward the front of the bowl. There was still some peeling varnish on the rim top. There were nicks and gouges in the top of the rim toward the front. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the deep tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.    I took photos of the stamping on the top of the stem. It is faint but readable. It is stamped as noted above.   I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give and idea of the proportions of the bowl and shank unit and the stem.I took the pipe apart and took photos of the parts.     I decided to start my restoration on this old timer by addressing the varnish or shellac on the bowl by wiping it down with acetone to remove it. Once the finish was gone the briar looked very good.    I moved on to deal with the damage to the inner edge and the rim top. I sanded the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 sandpaper to bring it back into round.  I filled in the flaws on the rim top with clear super glue. I let it cure and sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.   I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the repair and blend it into the surface of the rim.   I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the rim top off after each pad with a damp cloth. The shine began to look very good. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the rusticated briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine.      I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the aluminum shank. I buffed it with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel to raise a shine. I put a Dr. Grabow Charcoal Filter in the shank. The second half of the filter extends into the stem attachment once I have it done.  I screwed the bowl back on to the shank and took photos of what the pipe look like so far. It is looking pretty good at this point in the process. All that is left is the stem to clean up and polish.   Now it was time to work on the stem. There was a chip out of the outer edge of the button. I filled it in with clear super glue. Once the repair cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and topped the edge on the topping board to flatten out the outer edge of the button.    I sanded the tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing process with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.        I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the LHS Diamond on the top of the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. This restored LHS (LH Stern) Filtrex Air Cooled Filter pipe turned out to be a good looking pipe (I think I can call this oddity good looking). The unique set up of the pipe is still a part of the hunt for the dry, cool smoke. That is what makes it interesting to me. The contrasting brown stains on the bowl worked really well with the polished aluminum shank and polished yellow plastic stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe without the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Carnauba Wax. I gave the stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I 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 LHS Filtrex Air Cooled Filter Pipe sits well 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: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This unique piece of American pipe history will be joining my collection of oddities that all were a part of the search for the perfect smoke. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

 

Restoring a Odd LH Stern System Pipe with a Sump and a Cleanout


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is an odd one that I have looked at several times over the years and then put back in the box or pipes to be restored. We picked it up on EBay in 2016 and it has been sitting here since then. To me it is a pipe that characterizes the perpetual hunt for the perfect flavourful and cool smoke. Today I decided to bring it to the table and work on it. This one is an oddity made by LHS. It has a smooth rim, shank band and panel on the underside of the shank. The rest of the pipe is very nice tight rustication that almost looks like a sandblast. The top of the shank has opening with a threaded vulcanite cap that forms an entry into the airway. It is just ahead of the bowl shank junction. There was a crack in the shank on the right side that had spread enough that the stem no longer fit in the shank. It was stamped on the smooth underside of the shank. It reads Italian Briar [over] LHS in a Diamond (the LHS logo). There is no other information on the shank in terms of a line of pipes or a shape number. The pipe was dirty with grime ground into the finish. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim was covered so thickly in lava it was hard to know what was underneath. The vulcanite stem was oxidized and had a burn mark on the right underside and deep tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides. Jeff took photos of the pipe as it was when he received it from the EBay seller. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to give an idea of the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the rim top. The pipe was a mess and it would take a lot of work. He also took photos of the condition of the stem surface. You can see the oxidation and tooth marks in the stem on both sides as well as the burn mark in the third photo of the stem. He took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.Jeff took photos of the sides of the bowl and the condition of the exterior of the bowl and the vulcanite cap that was on top of the shank. It really is an odd looking pipe. I am anxious to see what the drilling is like once I receive it in Vancouver. The edges on the cap are worn and damaged and I was wondering if it would be stuck in the shank and unmovable. But it seems that with a little work Jeff was able to unscrew it and took some photos of the shank with the cap removed to show me what it looked like.    You can see the threads in the opening and on the cap itself. They are in great condition. What is not visible in the photos to me is critical. What did the airway do with the opening? Did it go straight through or how did enter or leave the opening? I would learn. There was a lot of debris on the cap and in the opening. It was a mess.Before I started working on it I did a bit of research on the brand to see if I could find anything mentioned in the two sites I regularly check for background information. I turned first to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-lhs.html). There was a great summary of the history of the brand but nothing on this particular unique pipe. I include that summary below:

The L&H Stern Inc. was established by Ludwig Stern (1877-1942) in 1911. His brother Hugo (1872-?) acted as vice-president & secretary. The firm moved to 56 Pearl St. Brooklyn in 1920. It closed down in the 1960s. LHS was one of the main pipe suppliers for US soldiers during WWII.

I did a quick look at Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/LHS) and there was a longer version of the same information as well as lot of photos of the wide range of LHS produced pipes. It is well worth a visit however there was no information on this particular odd pipe.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. Given the horrible condition of the pipe shown above I was wondering what it would look like after the cleanup. Jeff did an amazing job on this one. With odd airway and capped sump it was a lot of detail work to get it clean. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet Reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He cleaned out the internals of the shank and airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before and After Deoxidizer and rinsed off the remnants of the product and cleaned out the airway once more. The pipe looked a lot better than when he started. Internally it was spotless and smelled clean. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show the condition of the rim top and edges of the bowl. The outer edges were in okay condition. The inner edges had burn marks on the back half of the bowl and nicks and chipping on the front half. There were nicks and gouges in the top of the rim and it was slightly crowned. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the deep tooth marks, burn mark on the underside as well as the calcification, and oxidation on the stem surface. I took a photo of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the shank is faint but readable. It is stamped as noted above.   I took a photo of the right side of the shank to show the crack in the shank at the stem shank joint. It is ragged and goes into the rustication for about ½ inch.I decided to start my restoration on this old timer by addressing the cracked shank. I went through my thin brass bands and found one that would work well and not interfere with the stamping. I wanted it to be tight enough that it would pull together the cracked surface. I ran a line of clear super glue in the crack and squeezed it together and lined up the band. I pressed the band in place on the shank and the crack disappeared.     I moved on to deal with the damage to the inner edge and the rim top. I sanded the edge with a folded piece of 220 sandpaper to bring it back into round. I gave it a light bevel to take care of the burn damage. Because the rim top had a slight crown I could not top it on the topping board to I sanded the rim top carefully with the same piece of folded sandpaper to remove the damage to the surface.  I polished the rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the rim top off after each pad with a damp cloth. The shine began to look very good.     I wanted to get a sense of the airflow from the bowl to the shank so I unscrewed the cap from the top of the shank. It turns out that the shank has a sump under the cap for capturing tars and liquid much like a Peterson System pipe. The airway enters the top of the sump at the bottom of the threads toward the bowl and leaves at the top just below the threads on the shank end. It is ½ inch deep from the top of the opening to the bottom of the shank. With the cap on the shank is a little over an inch thick at that point from the top of the cap to underside of the shank. I inserted a pipe cleaner into the airway on each side of the sump to show the flow. If you can picture it the shape is like a U. The system is in essence a sump and a clean out. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the rusticated briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine.         I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem to lift the tooth marks on both sides of the stem. I filled in the remaining tooth marks and the burn mark on the underside of the stem with black super glue.    Once the repairs cured I used a needle file to flatten the repaired areas and to recut and shape the edge of the button on both sides.    I sanded the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing process with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.      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 restored LHS (LH Stern) Italian Briar System Pipe is a good looking pipe (I think I can call this oddity good looking). The unique sump and clean out system makes it interesting to me. The contrasting brown stains on the pipe worked really well with the polished vulcanite stem. The brass band I put on the cracked shank was a great contrast with the briar and the black vulcanite. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel keeping a light touch on the buffing wheel for the bowl. I 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 LHS Italian Briar sits well in the hand and should be an interesting smoke. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This unique piece of American pipe history will be joining my collection of oddities that all were a part of the search for the perfect smoke. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Restoring and Restemming an LHS Rusticated Sterncrest Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I am doing periodic repairs for a local pipe/cigar shop. They give my card to people who come in needing pipe repair. On Monday I received a call from a fellow who had an older LHS pipe that he had picked up in Europe on a trip. It turned out he lived around the corner from my house and he and his wife walked over with the pipe. It had an interesting rustication pattern around the bowl and shank that was unique. It sported a gold band on the shank that was original. The bowl exterior was very dirty. The rim top had lava overflow in the grooves and the bowl had a very thick cake inside it. The inner and outer edges of the rim looked very good. The stem had been jerry-rigged to function on the pipe before half of the button and back end of the stem had broken off. It looked like someone had used a knife and cut down the stem to make it a saddle stem. They had also carved a button on the stem. The saddle on the stem was in very rough condition and the carving marks in the stem surface were very rough. The young guy and his wife who dropped it off were hoping to get a new stem made and I was hooked and want to do that for them. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived so I had a benchmark to work with. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was very readable and was stamped Sterncrest of LHS in a diamond and underneath Imported Briar. Next to it was stamped 14K. The gold band was also in good condition but scratched. I also include a photo of an LH Stern sign that was included on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/LHS). I have included the information below from the article on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/LHS). It gives a great brief history of the brand that is a quick overview of the Company.

Ludwig Stern, a successful pipe manufacturer since 1893 and closing around 1960, reorganized his company along with his brother Hugo Stern, opening a factory in 1911. They named the company L&H Stern Smoking Pipes & Holders. The newly formed company was moved into a six story building on the corner of Pearl and Waters street Brooklyn, NY.

Thoroughly organized in all departments, and housed in a well-lighted and ventilated modern office and manufacturing building, the firm of L&H Stern Inc. is located near the first arch of the Manhattan bridge, near the river and convenient to the Brooklyn bridge, which makes it accessible from all the hotels in the metropolis for visiting buyers. The structure is six stories with a seventeen-foot basement, with light on three sides through prismatic glass windows, the first floor being seven feet above the sidewalk. Light enters the upper floors from all four sides.

L&H Stern is known to every important wholesaler and jobber in the country. LHS manufactures a complete line of briar pipes. Ginmetto wood pipes are also made, as well as Redmanol goods, the man-made amber. The first substitute for amber. Everything, even down to the sterling silver and other metal trimmings are made under one roof.

To begin the process of the restoration on this pipe I decided to see what kind of stem I had to replace the one that came with the pipe that was dropped off for me. I went through my can of stems and found a thin tapered saddle stem. It was more delicate looking than the broken one and I felt like it would look very good with the lines of the rustication on the bowl and shank. It was in good condition other than some light oxidation. I set the new stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I needed to clean out the bowl and shank before I fit the new stem on it. I reamed it with the third cutting head on the PipNet pipe reamer. I took the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up what was left with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and finished with sanding the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the walls on the bowl.   With the cake cleaned out of the bowl, it was time to clean the shank and airways. I used alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to scrub out the shank. I scraped the walls of the shank and mortise clean with a dental spatula to clean up the built tobacco lacquer on the walls. Once it was scrubbed clean the pipe smell much better.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime. I used a brass bristle brush to scrub the rim top with the soap. I rinsed the grime off the bowl with warm water and dried it off with a soft cotton cloth. Once the grime was gone I found flecks of white paint in the grooves of the rustication. I picked them out with a dental pick and used the wire brush to clean up the debris of the paint flecks. I rubbed the bowl and rim down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean and worked it into the rustication with a horsehair shoe brush. The balm work to enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I really like watching the Balm do its magic and bring the briar alive.  I sanded the scratches and tooth chatter out of the stem surface and the saddle with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper. I worked it over to remove the oxidation that remained in the stem surface.I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem.The stem was looking much better. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a coat of a new product I am experimenting with from Briarville Pipe Repair. It is called “No Oxy Oil” and it is made to protect the stem from oxidizing. I set it aside to dry.   As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the textures and the various browns of the bowl and shank. This LH Stern (LHS) Sterncrest Billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks the fact that I could in essence start over with it. The thin saddle stem looks really good with the rustication on the bowl and shank. The original 14K Gold band on the shank looks very good breaking up the shank and the stem. It is a real contrast and binds it all together. It really is a quite stunning piece of briar with an unusual rustication on the bowl. The pipe is comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This newly stemmed piece of  pipe history will soon be going back to my neighbour who I think is really going to enjoy it. It is a piece of he and his wife’s travels so now he can enjoy it with the memories of the find. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

One from the Bizarre and Unsuccessful: An LHS LiteAPipe Patent Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

This pipe is one that never seems to have made a real impact on the market. I have never seen another one and I really like LH Stern or LHS pipes. I have had quite a few cross my work table over the years. It is an oddity to my mind. It is an apple shaped pipe with a contraption on the bottom that is a part of the bowl. My brother sent me a link to the eBay sale and it was one that I wanted to have for the collection. I have nothing like it and I wanted to see if I could figure out how the contraption on the bottom worked. The seller included some photos of the condition of the pipe. The finish had a thick varnish coat that was peeling and the seller seemed to wipe it down with furniture polish or wax to make it shine. The metal contraption on the bottom was dirty and the knurled handle on the front was intriguing and the bullet shaped cap on the back of the bowl was also interesting. The pipe is five inches long and very light weight. The rim top was pretty beat up from knocking it out on a hard surface. The nicks and chips in the surface while not deep were numerous and made the surface rough. There was a thick cake in the bowl and the lava had run over the bowl onto the rim top. The bowl had a flat panel on each side that had the finish worn off around the edges. The stamping on the pipe was very clean and strangely it was opposite of most other pipes that I have seen. The name is stamped on the right side and the patent information is on the left. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Pat Apl’d For and on the right side it is stamped with the LHS Diamond and under that LiteAPipe. I did some searching on the US Patent website and could find no information on the brand or the design. I also searched for the series name and found nothing either. The pipe was a mystery. I could not wait to get a hold of it and take it apart and see what I could figure out.While I waited for the pipe I broadened my search for self lighting pipes to see if I could find anything with a search that wide. I found three patents for the same kind of concept – two from the 1940s and one from the 1920s. They have the same basic idea of combining a lighting mechanism within the pipe itself to lessen the tools that the pipeman needs to carry. While there are similarities none of them are really close to the design of this old pipe. I think though that these links help establish a time period.

Here are the links and the patent drawing photos:

https://www.google.com/patents/US2532820https://www.google.com/patents/US2595534https://www.google.si/patents/US1938874The first picture below shows the end cap removed and the knurled cap pulled out as well. There is what appears to be a spongy end sticking out of the back of the contraption. The knurled end seems like it has a flint or some such end sticking out of the end of the tube. The side plate looks rough and could be a striker. The concept seems pretty straightforward – a single unit that contains the fluid, flint, wick and the striker on the base of a briar pipe. The pipe man simple fills the reservoir wool with lighter fluid. He sticks the striker/wick in the unit at the bottom of the bowl and when he wants to light his pipe he pulls out the striker/wick. He strikes it on the coarse bar on the right side of the unit.My brother took some photos of the pipe when it arrived in Idaho. You can see the flaking and speckled finish of the varnish on the pipe. The aluminum is oxidized and dirty. The stem is oxidized. Later photos will show that it is missing a large chunk on either the top or the underside of the stem at the button. The next photo shows the contraption on the bottom of the bowl and how it is fitted into a slot on the bottom.The next two photos show the pipe from the front end. You can see the striker/flint on the end of the knurled tube. The second photo shows the rim top.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. It had a lot of tooth chatter and was missing a large chunk next to the button. The seller had turned it to the underside of the pipe so it was less visible.My brother did his usual stellar job of cleaning up the pipe before he sent it to me. He reamed and cleaned out the airway in the stem and the shank and mortise. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with warm water. The crackling varnish coat and the furniture polish the seller had used rinsed off with the scrubbing. He was able to get the bowl cleaned and most of the lava on the rim was gone leaving behind the beat-up rim top. The following photo shows the rim top and the damage there.I wiped down the finish with acetone on cotton pads to remove the remaining damaged finish. The pads came off with a red colour stain. The grain stood out on the bowl and it was a beautifully grained pipe. I debated for a bit about topping the bowl but because it was so rough I decided to lightly top it and remove the damaged areas on the rim. I did not take off much briar but worked to smooth out the rim top.I took apart the contraption on the bottom of the bowl. I unscrewed the bullet cap from the back end of the pipe and pulled out the striker unit. Once those were removed the insert slid free of the bowl bottom. The striker end had a wick that surrounded the flint post in the middle. Under the end cap there was a felt tube that was pushed into the tube and the end cap. I believe the felt was wet with lighter fluid and then the put back together. The right side bar looked to be a striker bar that the end was struck against to get a spark and flame. The burning wick then would be held above the tobacco and the flame pulled into the bowl.I went through my stem can and found almost a twin stem to the original. The taper is virtually the same. There were no tooth marks and only light oxidation and a few nicks in the vulcanite that needed attention.  I fine-tuned the fit of the tenon in the mortise and the new stem was ready to go. I put in place on the stripped down bowl and took some photos to get a good look at what the finished pipe would be like. I am happy with the flow of the shank and stem and the look of this short nosewarmer. I sanded the rim with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and then polished it with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I tested the stain pens I had and the medium brown stain pen was a perfect match to the colour of the stain on the rest of the pipe. I touched up the stain on the bowl sides and the shank. After all of the touch up work I took the photo below to show the match of the rim to the bowl.I touched up the stain on the bowl sides and shank and gave the bowl several coats of carnauba wax to have a look at the grain. It is a beautiful pipe. The combination birdseye and flame grain makes a great looking combination. The rich reddish brown stain makes the grain stand out. I also polished the aluminum on the insert and the bullet cap on the lighter contraption. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After the final pad I gave it a last coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel to take out all of the scratches on the stem and to polish it. The plastic polish works really well with vulcanite stems. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect it. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown below. It is one that I will keep in my collection of tobaciana because of its uniqueness. If any of you know any information about it please send a message in the comments below.

 

 

 

An LHS Purex Patented Lovat that showed promise


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother showed me a link on eBay that showed this older LHS Lovat. It was stamped LHS in a diamond. Next to that was stamped PUREX over the patent number, PAT.No1587048. Under that was stamped REAL BRIAR. The shape number 12 was stamped on the underside of the shank. LHs2The pipe looked decent. There was some damage to the rim but the bowl was nice other than the usual dirtiness and dents. The shank also looked good. There did not appear to be any fills in the bowl or shank. There was very little cake in the bowl and it appeared that it had been recently reamed. The finish was in okay shape though there were paint flecks on the sides of the bowl near the rim. lhs3 LHS4 LHS5The seller included a close up photo of the rim to show the extent of damage. It looked to me that the outer rim was the roughest. It was rounded and the defined sharp edge was gone. The front edge had more damage than the back. The inner edge showed damage and would take some work to round it out. The top of the rim was pretty beat up from what I could see in the photos.LHS6The stem was in rough shape with lots of tooth chatter and wear. It was oxidized and also had a thick coat of some substance that appeared to be flaking or peeling. The dots on the stem were probably white and red though the photos showed the white dot as almost yellow. I was pretty sure that the coat on the coat on the stem accounted for that.LHS7 LHS8I weighed the work it would take to bring it back to life and we put in the only bid on the pipe. It did not take too long for the seller to send it to my brother and for him to send it to me. Even with the double postage it is cheaper to send it to him in the US and then to me in Canada than to ship it directly to Canada. When the pipe arrived in Canada I was able to see that the seller’s photos had shown the condition of the pipe very well. The only thing not shown was that the stem was quite plugged from the slot to the metal threaded tenon. I was not able to push a pipe cleaner through it. The other thing was that the patented stinger apparatus was missing. I have included a picture of the missing apparatus from the patent information.LHS1I went through my collection of tenons and I did not have one like the one shown in the drawing above. I took the next photos to show the state of the pipe from my perspective before I started on the refurb.LHS9 LHS10 LHS11 LHS12I found that the stem was slightly underclocked and needed to be rotated. The first photo below shows the turn of the tenon when it arrived. I heated the tenon with a Bic lighter to soften the glue in the stem. Once it was softened I was able to turn the stem straight. The second photo shows the corrected stem.LHS13 LHS14I took a close up photo of the rim and the bowl interior. There was still some cake in the bowl that needed to be scraped off.LHS15I reamed the bowl with the PipNet reamer and took out the remaining cake.LHS16 LHS17I cleaned out the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. This was one dirty shank and mortise. I would need to use the retort to clean it out. I cleaned out the airway in the stem. It was clogged so I used a dental pick to open the slot area and then I was able to push a thin pipe cleaner through the airway. It took quite a few pipe cleaners to open the airway. I scrubbed the metal tenon with a brass bristle brush and then with alcohol and cotton pads. It was stained but all of the debris was cleaned.LHS18 LHS19I set up my retort, filling the test tube with isopropyl alcohol and then putting the stopper in place in the tube. I put a cotton ball in the bowl and the slid the rubber end of the retort over the stem. I lit a candle and heated the alcohol to boil through the bowl and shank. I boiled two test tubes of alcohol through the airway in the stem and shank before the alcohol came out clean. Once it was finished I ran pipe cleaners and cotton swabs through the mortise and airway to clean out the remaining alcohol and debris. Once I was finished the pipe smelled clean.LHS20 LHS21It was time to address the rim top. I topped it on the topping board using 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the surface and sharpen the inner and outer edges of the rim. Fortunately I did not need to remove much of the surface to clean up the rim surface and edges.LHS22 LHS23I scrubbed the finish with acetone on cotton pads to remove the sticky surface of the finish and the dirt and grime of the years.LHS24 LHS25I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I removed the “varnish” coat or whatever the substance was as well as the oxidation and tooth marks.LHS26 LHS27Once I had the surface clean of oxidation and tooth marks I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I gave the stem a rub down of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished by sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and then gave it a final coat of oil.LHS28 LHS29 LHS30I sanded the rim with 1500-3200 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the scratches left behind when I topped the bowl. I used a light brown stain pen to match the rim to the rest of the finish. I gave the pipe a light wipe down with olive oil and then buffed it with Blue Diamond plastic polish on the wheel. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I took it back to the table and gave it a final hand buff with a microfiber cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have no idea how old the pipe is but the patent number at least gives me a post 1926 date as a starting point. I don’t know how long LH Stern included the Pat.No. stamping on the shank but my thinking is that the pipe is from the mid to late 30s. Thanks or looking.LHS31 LHS32 LHS33 LHS34 LHS35 LHS36 LHS37 LHS38 LHS39

Revival of a Globetrotter: LHS Sterncrest 14K


Blog by Dave Gossett
Dave1

Dave2 A great pipe is reborn, the ad should read. This old LHS has been an extensive traveler throughout its long life. Plucked from the Mediterranean soil and carved in Brooklyn New York, traveling to the west coast, back to the east coast once more. From there it made its way to British Columbia, then again back to the east coast of America where it currently resides.

I received this pipe in an estate lot from California with the tenon and stinger broken off in the mortise. Someone had crudely tried to remove the broken tenon without success. I thought the pipe was a lost cause, but with little hope for a remedy I put out the bat signal for help. Steve Laug himself from Reborn Pipes answered the call. Off to British Columbia it went to undergo surgery from the master repairman.Dave3

Dave4 Here is the link to Steve’s great repair/rescue and stem replacement on this pipe.

https://rebornpipes.com/2015/11/04/removing-a-broken-metal-tenon-from-a-lhs-sterncrest-14k/

Back from surgery, Steve had sent me a fully functioning usable pipe.Dave5

Dave6 I started in on the usual ream and clean. Next I lightly topped the bowl and began working out the dents and scratches.Dave7

Dave8

Dave9

Dave10 Once I had a smooth clean stummel, I mixed up some Fiebings and tried to match the original finish.Dave11

Dave12 Sanding with 2500 grit I lightened the stain until I was close to the shade I wanted. I used a rag dampened with alcohol around the stampings to lighten those areas and blend in with the rest of the stummel.Dave13

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Breathing new life into an LHS Park Lane De Luxe Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

When I repaired Troy’s LHS Park Lane Lovat he gifted me this little beauty as a thank you. It is a small billiard and is stamped on the left side of the shank, Park Lane in an arch over the LHS Diamond and underneath the diamond it is stamped De Luxe. On the right side it is stamped with US Pat. 1,908,630. The shape number 19 is stamped on the underside of the shank. The finish was dirty and chipped all around the bowl. The rim had a buildup of tars and lava and the cake in the bowl left the bottom virtually conical. The stem was under clocked slightly. The stem (Bakelite?) was oxidized and had some small tooth marks near the button on the top and bottom sides. I love the swirl patterns of the stem material. They really give the pipe a look of class. When I removed the stem the stinger itself was black with tars and the inside of the shank was also dirty.Bake1

Bake2 I looked up the patent number on the US Patent information website and found out that the patent was filed for the stinger and tenon apparatus in 1933. The one in the diagram is shorter and slightly different from the one in this pipe so I am thinking that it is a later modification that was introduced. That combined with the dates for Bakelite I would put the dates on this pipe in the late 1930s or early 1940s. It is in pretty decent shape for a 75-80 year old pipe.LHS1908630 Patent drawings

LHS1908630 Patent doc I took the next three photos to give an idea of the state of the rim. I was uncertain of the condition of the inside edge of the rim because of the thickness of the build-up. The stamping was weak in the middle and the LHS diamond also quite weak.Bake3 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer. I find that I use that reamer for almost all of the refurbs that I do. The four different sized cutting heads, the T-handle and the carbon steel blade make short order of the most difficult cake. In this case I reamed it back to bare wood. I really wanted to see what the interior looked like as there was significant darkening around the top half of the bowl. The rim itself was just slightly out of round so it would be no issue to clean up.Bake4 I used a brass bristle tire brush on the long aluminum stinger to clean off the tars. I wanted it clean before I heated it to reclock the stem.Bake5 With it clean I heated the stinger with the lighter to loosen the glue in the stem. Once it was loose I was able to align the stem correctly. I let it cool in place.Bake6 With everything aligned I decided to try to pull the end of the stinger to get it to line up with the top of the stem. I wanted the slot in stinger to match the white bar in the stem material. I wrapped the jaws of a pair of needle nose pliers with cellophane tape to protect the aluminum from damage when I clamped them on it. I gently twisted on the end of the stinger and to my surprise the entire tenon unscrewed from the stem. That was a good thing by the way as it made cleaning the stem far simpler.Bake7 I cleaned the inside of the stem and the stinger with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. I had already tested the stem material and I knew that it would not dissolve with the alcohol.Bake8 With the inside of the stem clean I put the tenon back in place on the pipe and worked on the exterior. I sanded the surface and particularly the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper until they were smooth and blended into the stem surface.Bake9 I decided to work on this pipe from the opposite direction of my normal practice and finished working on the stem first. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and then rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and then gave it another coat of oil. I finished with 6000-12000 grit pads and a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set the stem aside and let the oil dry.Bake10

Bake11

Bake12 I cleaned out the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean and smelled fresh. I thought about using the retort on it but I am just not certain what the hot alcohol will do with this stem material.Bake13 Once the rim was cleaned I could see the chips and damage to the surface so I decided to lightly top the bowl.Bake14 I decided to do some experimenting with Dave Gossett’s method of stripping a bowl finish. I read about it on the Dr. Grabow Collectors Forum. He uses Oxyclean and alcohol he said. I had no idea how he went about it and fired him an email. Due to my impatience I did not wait and just jumped in. I tried to mix the Oxy with the alcohol. It did not work! It made a grit paste but I decided to give that a try anyway. I scrubbed and scrubbed and succeeded in removing a lot of the finish. The mixture left a white/grey ghost on the briar.Bake15

Bake16 I happened to check my email and saw that Dave wrote back. He said that he dissolved the Oxy in hot water and then added the alcohol. He said to be careful of the stamping as the mixture had a tendency to raise the stamping in the weak areas. Boy I wish I had not been impatient. I lost some clarity on the week areas of the stamping. I did the mixture as Dave suggested and wiped down the bowl with it and was able to get some more of the finish removed.Bake17 There were some deep cuts in the surface of the bowl. I steamed out the dents but these did not raise. I repaired them with superglue and briar dust.Bake18 I sanded the repaired areas smooth to match the surface of the bowl. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol to remove the dust. I heated the briar with a blow dryer and then stained it with a Dark Brown aniline stain thinned with 3 part alcohol to 1 part stain. I flamed the stain and set it in the briar.Bake19 I buffed it with White Diamond and found that even with the thinning it was too dark to my liking. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to remove some of the stain and make it more transparent.Bake20 The grain showed through nicely and the colour once it was waxed would look good with the stem material. I buffed with Blue Diamond and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff and then with a microfibre cloth by hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.Bake21

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