Tag Archives: LHS pipes

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

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.


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



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




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


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




Repairing a Broken Shank on an LHS Park Lane DeLuxe — Lovat 12

Blog by Steve Laug

I came home from a two-week work trip to Berlin and Budapest to find a package from Troy Wilburn waiting for me. It contained a beautiful little LHS Park Lane De Luxe Lovat shape 12 that we had been speaking about before the trip. I am a sucker for LHS pipes and really like the Park Lane series as they have a quiet elegance about them. The shank on this one had broken near the bowl. Fortunately it was a clean break and not splintered or chipped. The repair on these has become pretty straight forward for me. I have learned a few tricks in joining the parts of a broken shank together from the Frankenpipes that I have crafted. That was their purpose and their schooling has paid off on quite a few of these shank repairs for me. The Park Lane had a Bakelite stem (at least I think it is Bakelite as it feels and acts different from Cumberland). The next two photos show the snapped shank.LHS1

LHS2 Just as I suspected I had a piece of brass tubing that was the perfect size and fit for the repair. I used a file to cut grooves into the tube and to roughen the surface for the glue to have something to hold onto when I glued it in the shank.LHS3

LHS4 I cleaned out the airway on both sides of the broken shank to remove debris and to give a good clean surface for the glue to bond with. To check the size and the fit of the tube in the two parts of the shank I inserted it in the bowl end of the break and then twisted the shank end onto it. The fit was perfect and once glued the repair should be solid.LHS5 I mixed some epoxy and applied it to the metal tube being careful to not get any inside of the airway. I inserted it into the bowl side of the break. I left slightly over half of the tube extending so that when I put the shank piece in place there would be enough of the metal tube to strengthen the repair on that end.LHS6

LHS7 When the epoxy set and the tube was solidly in place I painted some more of the epoxy on the opposite end of the tube and a little on the briar surface of each side of the break. I have learned not to overdo the glue on the briar as it is a pain to remove from the wood when it dries. I twisted the shank piece in place, lined it up and pressed it in place against the bowl side. I held it firmly until the quick set epoxy set and that portion of the repair was finished.LHS8



LHS11 I pushed some fine briar dust into the small space that remained around the surface of the crack and then filled it with clear super glue. I applied it with the point of a dental pick so as not to get too much glue on the briar.LHS12



LHS15 I sanded the repaired area carefully with a folded piece of worn 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess glue and briar dust from the patch. Then I sanded with a fine grit sanding sponge to remove the scratches. I used a medium brown coloured stain pen to touch up the sanded area around the patch. I cleaned out the shank with a pipe cleaner to make sure that there was no glue in the tube.LHS16



LHS19 The stem was slightly under clocked. I heated the stinger with a lighter until the glue in the stem softened and then carefully screwed it into the shank while holding the shank. I was able to align it perfectly with the shank.LHS20 With that completed, the repairs to the pipe were finished. The stem was in the right position. The cracked shank repaired and strengthened with an inner tube. All that remained was to clean up the surface of the pipe and give it a coat of stain to blend in the sanded areas around the repairs. I also needed to do some work on the stem with micromesh to raise the shine and polish the Bakelite. (I rarely use the buffer on these older LHS stems as I do not want to risk it. I would rather polish them by hand than damage them.)LHS21

LHS22 I wiped the bowl and shank down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the grit and grime on the surface of the bowl and to remove the remaining finish.LHS23

LHS24 I cleaned off the tars on the stinger with 0000 steel wool. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and then rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I continued to dry sand the stem with 3200-4000 grit pads and then gave it another coat of oil. I finished with the final three grits of micromesh – 6000-12000 – and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. Once the oil dried I gave the stem some coats of Paragon Wax and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth.LHS25


LHS27 I gave the bowl a rubdown with some olive oil and then buffed it out. I touched up the light areas of the stain on the repaired shank with a dark stain pen and then rubbed a little more oil onto the shank. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond and then gave it several coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff and then hand buffed it with the microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown below. I am hoping to put it in the mail later today or tomorrow to get it back to Troy.LHS28

LHS29 There was some light damage to the rim surface. I decided to leave it alone as it was not enough to top the bowl. It gives character to this old pipe.



Restoring an LHS Certified Purex #24

Blog by Dave Gossett
Dave1 This pipe was a pretty straight forward cleanup. It was in overall decent shape. It had some light rim char and the stem was out of alignment. Steve had recently posted an LHS repair with this very problem so it came in handy. I followed his process and sanded the aluminum shank cap gently on a flat sanding board until the stem was in proper position. I can’t imagine they left the factory out of alignment, so I don’t know how they end up like that.Dave2

Dave3 Next I sanded the rim with 1000 grit until I reached fresh briar, and went over the rest of the stummel with 2000 grit to remove the nicks and scratches, then began working my way up the grit ladder until it was smooth.

A quick wipe down with alcohol was applied before adding Fiebings dark brown. I left it to cure for 24 hours. For a nice contrast stain, I lightly mist the briar with alcohol and use a very worn piece of 2000 grit. This removes the dark stain from the soft wood and makes the grain more prominent. After the pipe has been wiped down with a damp cloth to remove the excess stain, it was left to dry and then lightly sanded with micro mesh one last time.Dave4





Breathing New Life into an LHS Sulgrave

Blog by Steve Laug

I have become a fan of older LHS pipes and restored quite a few of them lately. I am always on the lookout for different LHS lines that I have not seen. Recently I picked up this LHS Sulgrave from a fellow on the Dr. Grabow Collectors Forum for $15. It is a line that I had not heard of before. He described it as a lightly smoked briar pipe. When I saw it I wanted it as it was my kind of shape. Never sure what to call this shape – bent banker, squat apple – not sure but I like it. He gave the following description in the sale listing. The shank is stamped Purex Sulgrave arched over LHS in a Diamond on the left side. The stem has two light coloured dots on the left side. The pipe is 5 1/8 inches long from the bottom of bowl to end of bit. The bowl chamber diameter is 7/8 inch and bowl depth is 1 1/4 inch. There is light caking in bowl. There is light tooth wear on end of the stem near the button. It has normal wear and tear (dings, oxidation and scratches) for an estate pipe. Nice overall shape and condition. Here are the photos that he included when I emailed him for details.LHS1



LHS4 When the pipe arrived I was not disappointed. The shape was perfect. The description was accurate and the only variation that I could see was that the stamping did not include PUREX on the shank. Not a big deal in my book. The bowl was unevenly caked and appeared to have been reamed. The back side of the bowl had a thicker portion of cake that gave the inside wall on the back side an uneven and out of round look. I was pretty certain that with a good reaming and a light sanding the rim would look better. The stem was over bent and there was a slight crease on the underside of the bend. There was a coat of wax or some kind of coating on the stem and bowl. The stem was oxidized. In the first photo below you can see slight imperfection in the vulcanite stem. I have circled it to highlight it in the photo below. It is not a hole or worn spot, it is actually a thread of cord in the rubber. Its presence gives some idea of the date of manufacture as recycled rubber was used in WWII pipes.LHS5



LHS8 The stem also had a lot of tooth dents and chatter along both top and bottom with some very deep marks on both. I tried to capture them in the next two close-up photos but they are still not very clear. The odd thing was that the dents went up the stem over an inch. The slot in the button was not centred and appeared to have left the factory that way. The dents were deep enough that I was concerned regarding the thinness of the stem surface over the airway. The mortise and airway in the shank were dirty and the end of the mortise was chipped away. It looked as if there had originally been a stinger in the tenon but it was no longer with the pipe.LHS9

LHS10 I also have included the next close-up photo of the rim and the bowl interior to show the cake that gave the bowl an out of round appearance.LHS11 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the largest cutting head. I took the cake back to bare wood to even out the inner edge of the bowl. I wanted to get rid of the cake so that I could smooth out the edge.LHS12

LHS13 I folded a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out inner edge. It took a little effort remove the inner edge damage and clean up the roundness of the bowl.LHS14

LHS15 I wiped down the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to remove the tars and the wax coat on the briar. With them removed the outer edge of the bowl showed damage as well. The bowl had been knocked about on the front edge particularly. The grain on this pipe was lovely.LHS16



LHS19 To minimize the outer edge damage I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I sanded it to remove the damage to the top of the bowl and clean up the outer edge of the bowl.LHS20

LHS21 I cleaned out the shank and the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the grime inside. It took quite a few of both to clean out the shank but finally they came out clean.LHS22 I heated the stem with a heat gun to try and lift some of the dents to the surface and to also take out some of the bend. I also wanted to smooth out the sharpness of the bend on the bottom side.LHS23


LHS25 I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.LHS26 The heat had raised most of the dents significantly. The ones that were left in the stem needed to be sanded out and then filled to take care of them. I used 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface. I also worked on the curve on the underside of the stem to make it less sharp looking.LHS27



LHS30 The dents in the stem needed to be filled to bring the surface back to smooth flowing condition. I used a black super glue to fill the surface and set the stem aside to dry for several hours. Once dry, I sanded the fills with 220 grit sandpaper and then used a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to feather them into the surface of the stem.LHS31





LHS36 I used a needle file to clean up and sharpen the edge of the button and give it more definition. I sanded the sharp edge with sandpaper and then sanded it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads and then let it dry after sanding with a 12,000 grit pad.LHS37


LHS39 I buffed the pipe with White Diamond and Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish and remove the slight remnants of oxidation that had come to the surface. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean flannel buffing pad. I brought it back to the table and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below.LHS40







Cleaning up an LHS Sterncrest Lovat with a Bakelite Stem

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my work table is a little 4 ¾ inch Lovat with a rusticated finish and a two tone stain. The rustication looks like craters and swirls. Even the top of the bowl is rusticated.LHS14 The stem looked to be oxidized but once I worked on it I was in for a surprise. The band was stamped Sterling Silver arched over the LHS in a Diamond logo and under that was stamped Rhodium. The underside of the shank was flat and smooth and was stamped with the LHS in a Diamond logo with the word Sterncrest arched under the diamond. Toward the stem end of the shank it was stamped Imported Briar.LHS13


LHS10 As I looked at the stem more closely I could see swirls of red running through it and the material was a reddish brown colour. It had a similar appearance to Cumberland but was harder and heavier. The patterns in the swirls was not uniform at all and made me think of other things that I have around made of a similar looking material. This would become more clear when I cleaned up the stem.LHS11

LHS12 I took two close-up photos of the stem and the extension that was in the end of the tenon and extended into the bowl. It was an integral part of the stem and I was not able to remove it.LHS15

LHS16 Once I got this far in the process I wanted to know a bit more of the history of the brand. I was trying to find out when the pipe potentially was made. The stem had me fascinated. The extension tube in the tenon was different from any other LHS Sterncrest pipe that I had seen. All of the patent information I could find from the early 1900s through 1936 showed a more typical ball and point stinger apparatus. There was nothing to date this in the patent information. That combined with the unique stem material seen clearly in the photo above made me very curious about the pipe.

I looked on the PipePhil site which is a go to site for me when digging out information and I found some helpful material. Here is the link – http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-lhs.html. The first item below is a copy of the photo from his site which gives some simple information. The Strencrest stem that I had did not have the inset silver diamond in the side on the top of the saddle. The stamping on the pipe was different as well. Mine was stamped LHS in a Diamond (like the one on the briar inset below) but STERNCREST was underneath the Diamond. Imported Briar was on the opposite end of the shank. The inset of the band is identical in terms of what is shown. The band on mine has one additional feature below the LHS diamond and that is the word RHODIUM.LHS1 I followed the links on the site and found the following grading guide from 1944 there as well. It lists the Sterncrest Sterling as the third highest grade of pipe. The issue for me is whether the pipe I have is a Sterling. It only bears the Sterncrest stamp and that does not appear on the chart below.LHS2 I read some more on the site and found that 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. That was the short version of the information. With that I knew that my pipe was made between 1911 when the company opened and before the 1960’s when it closed.

I googled for more information to see if I could find company advertising that showed the pipe I was working on and gave more definitive information on the brand. I found the following quote that helped to fit the Sterncrest into the scheme of things. “LHS is L & H Stern Pipe Making Co. that was based out of Brooklyn N.Y. Their most common lines seem to have been their Sterncrest pipe models. The company made pipes from 1900-the 1950’s.”

I also found some advertising which I have posted copies of here. Three of the magazine advertisements are shown below. All three show a similar pipe to the one that I have in hand. The rustication on mine is more crater like than tree bark like but the patterns are similar.LHS7 I have also included a page from a Sterncrest Catalogue from 1946 that shows the line and the second pipe from the right, the lovat is identical in shape to the one that I have. The rustication pattern in the picture is similar but also more tree bark like and the stamping is on the side of the shank rather than the underside.LHS8 Now I knew that the pipe I was working on came from a more narrow time period – 1910 to sometime in the 1940s. That was all the information I could readily find on the pipe. I was still left with a bit of a mystery that would become somewhat clearer as I cleaned up the pipe and stem.

The pipe was lightly smoked and I was able to wipe out the dust and debris from the bowl quickly. The shank was dirty but what came out of the shank was not tobacco debris or tars but rather a red stain. The inside of the shank had some stain left in it. The bowl must have been dip stained when in the factory and the pipe had not been smoked enough to burn off the stain that was there. Obviously the previous owner never ran a pipe cleaner into the shank to find what I found in my clean up with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.LHS16a I also cleaned out the airway in the stem and tenon extension. I was careful as I did not want to chip or damage the extension. The more I worked with the stem the more I was beginning to get an idea of what the stem material was.LHS17 I worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I was uncertain whether the oil would be absorbed or not but either way it would give some teeth to the micromesh pads as I worked with them. I took photos of both sides of the stem to show the pattern that started to show up as I polished it.LHS19

LHS20 I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to further polish the stem. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil once again.LHS22

LHS23 The more I polished the stem the more clear it became what the material I was working with was. I dry sanded with the final three grits of micromesh and then buffed the stem with Blue Diamond polish before giving it a final coat of oil. Once the oil dried I buffed it with some carnauba wax and then with a clean flannel buff before giving it a final hand buff with a microfibre cloth.LHS24 Once I finished polishing the stem I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the stem was made of Bakelite. It was exactly like several of the Bakelite tobacciana items that I have collected. The mottled brown and red look of the polished stem proved it to me.

I decided to do a bit of research on Bakelite to both make certain I was working with that and to see if I could narrow the date for this pipe down even further. I am including some of the information that I found in my search.

From the New World Encyclopedia online I got some basic information on the material. Here is the link if you want to see the original source. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Bakelite

I found that Bakelite is a material based on a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin developed in 1907–1909, by the Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland. It was the first plastic made from synthetic components. It was used for its electrically nonconductive and heat-resistant properties in radio and telephone casings and electrical insulators, and was also used in such diverse products as kitchenware, jewelry, pipe stems, and children’s toys…

Bakelite is a phenol formaldehyde resin with the chemical name polyoxybenzyl methylene glycol anhydride. It was formed by the reaction under heat and pressure of phenol, a toxic, colorless crystalline solid, and formaldehyde, a simple organic compound, generally with wood flour filler. The combination of the mixture with the wood flour makes the material hard and dense.

The company, The Bakelite Corporations was formed, in 1922, from the consolidation of three companies: the General Bakelite Co., the Condensite Corp. and the Redmanol Chemical Products Company, an early plastics manufacturer formed in 1913, by chemist L.H. Baekeland. The American Catalin Corporation acquired the Bakelite formulas, in 1927, and currently manufactures Bakelite cast resins.

Bakelite Limited was formed, in 1926, from the amalgamation of three suppliers of phenol formaldehyde materials: The Damard Lacquer Company Limited of Birmingham, Mouldensite Limited of Darley Dale, and Redmanol Chemical Products Company of London. Around 1928, a new factory opened in Tyseley, Birmingham, England. (The building was demolished in 1998.) The company was acquired by the Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation in 1939.

From the Wikipedia I found out more information. Here is the link for the source should you want to read more. I have included a few clips from that source. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite

Bakelite is not extensively used for general consumer products any more, due to the cost and complexity of production and its brittle nature. However, it was used in the past in myriad applications, such as saxophone mouthpieces, cameras, solid-body electric guitars, rotary-dial telephones, early machine guns, and appliance casings. It was at one point considered for the manufacture of coins, due to a shortage of traditional manufacturing material.

An exception to the overall decline is the use in small, precision-shaped components where their specific properties are required, such as molded disc brake cylinders, saucepan handles, electrical plugs and switches, and electrical iron parts. Today, Bakelite-type materials are manufactured and produced in the form of sheets, rods and tubes for many industrial applications in the electronics, power generation, and aerospace industries, and under a variety of commercial brand names.

Many companies stopped using Bakelite in the early 1940s as the need for World War II related products took hold. By the end of the War, new technologies in the world of plastics had made Bakelite obsolete.

A final source of information I found was on jewelry specifically but the dates coincide with the information above and help narrow the dates for my pipe stem.

The source is as follows: http://www.teeda.com/history-of-bakelite-jewelry.html

The height of Bakelite jewelry was the late 1930s, up until the end of the Art Deco period. The designs were quite popular in mass merchandise stores such as Sears and Roebuck. However there were also some famous names working with the material and creating Bakelite jewelry including Chanel and Van Cleef and Arpel. Oddly enough Bakeland allowed the patent to expire and the Catalin Corporation bought it. They began creating their own Bakelite jewelry marketed as Bakelite-Catalin. The pieces were sold in both expensive stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and smaller stores such as Woolworth’s.

Bakelite jewelry was available in a variety of colors, but brown, green, red, and white were the most popular color choices. Over time though, exposure to the light and particles in the air have caused many of these colors to change. A good example is a bracelet that was once white, but now looks pale brown in color.

Given the information on Bakelite I think I can safely narrow down the date on the stem to between 1930-1949 when the war ended. That may be as close as I can get to pinning down a date on the pipe unless someone who knows a bit more of the history of LH Stern can be more specific regarding the apparatus at the end of the tenon.

I returned to finishing up my work on the pipe. With the stem completed, I polished the stem with a silver polishing cloth and was able to remove all of the oxidation and give the silver band a sheen that looked like new.LHS18 I rubbed down the bowl and shank with Halcyon II wax and then buffed it with a shoe brush and then with the microfibre cloth to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is ready to load up and smoke a bowl. It will probably be the first bowl that has been run through the pipe since the end of the war. I am looking forward to reintroducing the pipe to a nice bowl of Virginia or Virginia Perique. It is so light weight that it should be a great smoking pipe.LHS25





LHS30 Thanks for looking.

The B(ew)itchin‘ Pipe – A Lost Episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’

Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Photos © the Author

“Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.”
― Rodman Edward “Rod” Serling (1924-1975), U.S. TV/film writer, narrator, anti-war and –racism activist, in “Vogue” magazine [April 1957]

Good evening. Imagine, if you will, a rather large college town in the heart of the American Southwest, population estimated at a little more than half a million. This sprawling urban area does not appear on any globe of the Earth, nor do its lights draw the attention of a satellite passing far overhead at night in the vacuum of outer space. Nevertheless, due to the proximity of two of the country’s three top nuclear weapons developers to this liberal college and arts metropolis, it is likely the target of hundreds if not thousands of such warheads from other, potentially hostile nations or terrorists, foreign and domestic.

In today’s episode, we are about to meet a 53-year-old man named Robert Boughton, who as a matter of record resides in this sprawling burg. Mr. Boughton knows the twin peaks that are, atop the one, success and hope, and the other, defeat and futility. At the moment, he is at the very zenith of the heap of that more and more common social malaise that people glibly call the harried man. He is finding his way through one of the more interesting times of his life, in the sense of the ancient Chinese curse. Honest, hard-working and trustworthy, he has had more jobs than he could ever recall to put down on a government security clearance application, from maintenance man to assistant manager in hotels; neighborhood delivery boy to photojournalist for newspapers, and, most recently, both caregiver and pipe restorer – tobacco pipes, he always adds to prospective new customers he doesn’t know as he offers them his card.

During the past seven years, Mr. Boughton has postponed his lifelong pursuit of a literary career to dedicate almost every waking hour as caregiver to a mentally unstable roommate with a slightly shorter list of physical disorders, one of them fatal; a shrewish man a few years over the hill who carries his misfortunes the way some brag about drug abuse or petty thievery, but in his case molded into the very form and execution of his tragic worldview by the madness of living day-to-day knowing he is deteriorating from the core of marrow of his brittle bones to the disappearing sheath around every nerve fiber and the corresponding loss of sight and voluntary movement, and finally to the thin skin of his failing frame.

Mr. Boughton’s roommate has no idea how close he has come to being granted his repeated if insincere request to be put out of his misery; to a drive far out onto a back road of the desert for a very long stay. He has pushed Mr. Boughton to the limits of his self-control – to the end of his wits and the edge of his sanity. But the downward spiral is about to change, as you will soon understand. For not long ago, Mr. Boughton caught sight of a pinhole of light in the abyss; a hobby that helped him survive the slings and arrows that another writer once called outrageous fortune.

And now all of Mr. Boughton’s troubles are about to change for the better from the simple purchase of an estate lot of seven tobacco pipes in time to write off as an expense on last year’s business income taxes. All of them would have been finds for more than the $25 he paid for the lot – but at a glance, the real gem, in the eye of the restorer at any rate, first went unnoticed. See if you can spot it in the following picture from our gallery, which we call “Lot #7: Tobacco Pipes.” Robert1 If you correctly identified the L&H Stern Straight Billiard, on the right in the middle, as the object of Mr. Boughton’s growing obsession, shall we say, then you either have what is commonly referred to as the Sixth Sense or you are an astute collector of fine pipes.

The Park Lane, an invention of the company’s primary founder, is stamped with U.S. Patent № 1908630, issued May 9, 1933. Mr. Boughton has always appreciated the elegant – in expressions of poetry, law, logic and art, to name a few – and as for Patents, he considers this one, being only two pages including the obligatory illustration of parts, to be as brief and comprehensive as they come.Robert2

Robert3 L&H Stern Inc. was officially organized in 1911 by one Ludwig Stern (the L in the initials, which in the early days were fashioned L. & H. S.), with his older brother, Hugo (the H). Ludwig emigrated from Germany as a young man, after his brother, who was five years older.

(And now, if the audience will permit a brief side-bar, a point of interest: Ludwig worked for the largest supplier of tobacco products to the entire state of New York – somehow providing an estimated 90% of cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and other related items to manufacturers and retailers in the area – as early as 1899, the year the behemoth tobacco supplier was spawned. Called the Metropolitan Tobacco Company, a corporation born of a cartel of others in the same business known to everyone who was anyone within the industry as the “Tobacco Trust,” became the object of a drawn-out restraint of trade civil complaint. The original trial and both appeals of said cause were decided, not surprisingly, in favor of the tobacco industry defendants. The small shops, banded together as plaintiffs, now collectively relegated to historical obscurity by a single last name and “et al.,” were forced to close. I submit for your consideration one question: could the wheels of justice have been greased in this case by the main product of the second of the Seven Deadly Sins? This is offered as food for thought – only available at your local diner in the Twilight Zone.) [See Link 2.)

The brothers moved the re-formed business in 1920 to Brooklyn. The new location, in a seven-story building, was – for the then-ubiquitous craft – in a convenient part of town now known by its acronym, D.U.M.B.O. (Down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). It remained there until closing in the mid-1960s. [See Link 3.] LHS was already so well respected in the business at the time that the company reorganization and move were news in those bygone days. [See Link 4.]

The LHS Park Lane Billiard included a brown and orange swirled Cumberland bit, handmade from Ebonite and fashioned in this case to look like wood. Mr. Boughton considered the task of restoring this pipe to be distinctly good fortune and a pleasure of restoring, in particular because of a certain aspect of the repair that was new to him. The line was made only in the 1930s. [See Link 5.]

At the present moment, Mr. Boughton is busy at work attempting to restore the WDC Park Lane to its original state. As noble as the endeavor may be, the only problem, with this peculiar specimen, is the invisible transformation the pipe has undergone during years of smoking by a single prior owner who had the good grace to love it. As Mr. William Shakespeare so aptly put it in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,/And therefore is wingèd Cupid painted blind.” Now, meet Mr. Boughton in his favorite activity – restoring tobacco pipes with every ounce of his love.




Robert7 The last shot of the Park Lane prior to restoration, above, makes the most serious problem I encountered apparent. The bit was off by about an eighth of a turn, which may seem negligible to one who has never enjoyed the ruminating quality of a fine pipe, but is in fact a microcosmic chasm along the lines of the Grand Canyon to the general viewer.

The flaw was masked by the seller of these estate pipes, who, with no small amount of duplicity, placed a piece of paper around the metal tenon screw built into the opening of the shank.Robert8

Robert9 The wily culpability of this particular ilk of seller is obvious from the freshness of the paper. Hence the conspicuous starting point for my restoration.

At this point of experience restoring pipes, I consider myself a journeyman in the craft. Although familiar with various ways to tighten Vulcanite, Ebonite, Lucite and other tenon materials, I was unable to locate any useful information on the Internet – the modern day Library of Alexandria, which was dedicated to the Muses, or nine gods and goddesses of the Arts – concerning the re-alignment of metal tenons fixed either to the bit or shank.

Nevertheless, finding myself without a clue how to proceed, I sent an email to Steve Laug, who soon replied with the suggestion that I read his recent online blog on the restoration of an LHS Purex Bulldog. This amused me, as the many notices of comments on the blog in question were forwarded to me, I wondered what all the hoopla was about and had intended to check it out.

However, awaiting Steve’s reply did not hinder me from proceeding with certain steps I knew, such as the fact that the stinger extension of the tenon should come off. Thinking of that, I tried heating the entire aluminum tenon with the flame of a Bic, careful not to touch the shank opening beyond the part of the tenon Ludwig Stern referred to as the flange [see p. 1, Fig. 2, part 10 of the Patent]. Unfortunately, the tenon still would not budge. Even the stinger [illustrated as a whole as part 9, with parts 13, 14 and 15 forming its length and pushing into part 8] seemed to form a single piece. I was aware this would be odd, if not unprecedented, but after four attempts, I swear it would not come off.Robert10 One lesson I did manage to learn from my dad in his countless frustrated endeavors to teach me about mechanics was that if a part of a mechanism or machine would not come free using reasonable pressure, don’t force it. But, always believing that not all of his maxims were absolute, I suspected he meant it as a guideline that was not immutable under controlled conditions I might someday, by some miracle, learn to recognize. Therefore, I found a small wash rag and a pump plier that I feared might be overkill, but it was all I owned that had not been stolen by previous apartment owners. I also possess a wicked sense of adventure at moments like these. Adjusting the rivet to match the job, I then wrapped the small towel around the base of the tenon/stinger by the flange and loosely clamped the end of the plier over the tenon. As I applied pressure, I could feel the two sides of the mouth turn and clamp firmly down on the rag-covered metal. Gripping the bit in one hand, I turned the plier with my other and immediately felt it begin to move. Slowly, it came free and undamaged.Robert11 In the meantime, Steve replied with the suggestion that I read his recent online blog on the restoration of an LHS Purex Bulldog. This amused me, in a good way. As the many notices of comments on the blog in question were forwarded to me, I wondered what all the hoopla was about and had intended to check it out.

Reading through to the first mention of the difficulty encountered by Steve, my heartbeat quickened. Confident I was on the verge of making the discovery that would enlighten me, I continued, on the edge of my seat on the couch in my living room, as though I were reading a real page-turner of a book or watching an Alfred Hitchcock thriller or perhaps “The Twilight Zone.” Indeed, in my mind I envisioned the Canadian master at work in his studio, so vivid were the words and photographs flashing across his computer screen.

Nearing the expected moment of revelation, I was consumed with anticipation – only to come to a single photograph of Steve’s LHS shank that dashed my hopes in a nanosecond, as is the popular if peculiarly à propos phrase these days; for the illustration revealed the exact reverse of my predicament, one that could not be repaired in the same fashion.

Delayed but not daunted, I set out to do that which I knew I should have attempted in the first place: taking the Park Lane to my own friend and mentor, Chuck Richards, I humbly sought his advice.

Before doing that, I continued where I had left off, cleaning the tenon and stinger inside and out, including the corroded threads that screwed into the bit, using a small square piece of cotton cloth soaked with Everclear and bristly cleaners that passed through the airways. To be done with it, I also ran a pipe cleaner with alcohol through the air hole of the bit, and when it came out filthy, recalled Steve’s words in his blog that this sort of pipe often needs considerable cleaning of the shank and bit. Quite a few cleaners later, I had the mess under control for the time. Known to my dad for having “a mind like a steel trap” and to my friends as being on the stubborn – or, as I prefer to think, confident side – I was by whatever label loathe to surrender to any challenge.Robert12

Robert13 When I arrived at the pipe shop and we exchanged pleasantries, I presented my distressed pipe. Chuck, pipe of the day in mouth, put on his eyeglasses and examined the LHS closely. Within a blurring handful of seconds, my older, more experienced mentor made his diagnosis, telling me with his typical certitude to heat the tenon before tightening it into the bit. A man who prefers to let people learn as much as they can on their own, Chuck then offered the rare treat of extra advice: “It will be counter-intuitive.”

Intrigued, I took a seat in the pipe shop and, starting a fresh bowl full of tobacco in a new pipe, mulled over the problem in my mind. In a flash, I thought of a comparison, and unfortunately blurted it to the complete perplexity of all of the cigar smokers present.

“Like turning into the skid on ice!”

Chuck, caught unawares by the outburst and not at first grasping the metaphor, at last smiled and said, “Yes, something like that.”

At home later, the first chance I had, I sat down with my movable feast of standard implements of construction, including quite a few that were improvised, to make my first attempt at the genuine repair of a loose bit.Robert14 Following Chuck’s advice, and keeping the counter-intuitive dog treat in mind, I was set to apply heat to the tenon stinger when the idea struck me to try removing the stinger again. Of course, then it came out with a simple turn of my fingers, apparently loosened by the work I did earlier and the passage of time.

And so I flicked my Bic and held it under the small tenon with even more care not to burn the precious Cumberland bit. (A Cumberland, by the way, is made from a special sort of Ebonite that can be colored with limits, which in turn is a particular variation of Vulcanite. This subject, I understand from research, is a matter of some hot debate.) With the tenon blackened, I quickly tossed a small rag over it and grabbed my pump pliers, clamping them firmly and remembering not to turn the small metal insert opposite from the direction the bit was off but toward it – as one would, if one hoped to avoid losing control of a vehicle and crashing or rolling, turn into the skid on black ice. Thus one particularly memorable experience on a bridge late one night in Colorado Springs, when my training and reflexes saved me, proved useful in this new endeavor. Each of several increasingly difficult rounds of this process brought the bit closer until it was aligned snugly.

Reaming the chamber and sanding it with 150-grit paper before 200 and then 320 was an easy task, as was using super fine 0000 steel wool to remove the rim char and excess dark stain that was popular when the pipe was made somewhere around three-quarters of a century ago. The rim and bowl then only needed a progression of micromesh from 1500-4000.

At this late stage of the restore, I retorted the pipe, again, unfortunately, with the tenon in place. I at least left the stinger aside for that process, which required about five Pyrex tubes of Everclear boiled through the pipe’s innards to clear out decades of crud and juices soaked into the briar from considerable use by someone who loved this pipe.

I stained the briar with Lincoln Brown boot stain, as opposed to Medium Brown which appears lighter, and flamed it before removing the thin layer of char with gentle rubbing using 3600 micromesh.Robert15


Robert17 At last I am at the end of this rather strange, I admit, blog. I buffed the stem with white and red Tripoli and White Diamond, using a soft cotton cloth and a clean wheel between each. Then I used white Tripoli, White Diamond and carnauba on the wood, with the same steps between each.Robert18



Mr. Boughton had intended to offer this fine LHS pipe for sale at his online store. But following an odd impulse he could neither resist nor explain, he found himself loading a bowl of one of his best tobacco blends and, before he knew it, striking a match and placing the flame to the firm top layer.

The magical qualities of the pipe immediately became apparent. Where he had been tense to the point of explosive results, he was consumed with a sense that all was right in the world. Continuing to puff the mysterious pipe that had somehow found its way to him, he pondered the possible reasons behind the overwhelming sense of attraction to the diminutive pipe. Nothing he could imagine provided a satisfactory explanation, and Mr. Boughton also found he no longer cared.

Mr. Shakespeare also wrote, on the same subject and in the same play: “And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.” Truer words may never have been written.

For at that very moment, although Mr. Boughton thought he was sitting on his sofa in his suddenly less dreary little apartment in the heart of the American Southwest, he was, in fact, still on the outskirts of the Twilight Zone.

1. “The Twilight Zone,” Introduction, Season 2, with thanks. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052520/quotes

2. Locker et al. v. American Tobacco Co. et al, NY Sup. Ct. (1907), pp. 115-124. https://books.google.com/books?id=34g7AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA117&lpg=PA117&dq=metropolitan+tobacco+company+brooklyn&source=bl&ots=hQ6aVa_tY8&sig=1uaY2AesgKT4mCKepaOyan9gB9I&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MIiQVZGuHYizoQSxsouAAg&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=metropolitan%20tobacco%20company%20brooklyn&f=false

3. L&H Stern background, including D.U.M.B.O.
Featured Fade – L & H Stern – Smoking Pipes & Holders – DUMBO – Fred King

4. Magazine story on L&H Stern 1920 move.

5. LHS Park Lane dating confirmation.
http://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/united-states/moreinfo.cfm? Product_ID=100458