Tag Archives: LHS Purex Pipes

Restoring a 20’s Era LHS PUREX Patent 1587048 Octagonal Pot


Blog by Steve Laug
LHS The pipe I chose to work on is stamped on the left side of the shank LHS in a Diamond then PUREX. Underneath is the stamping PATN 1587048. On the right side it is stamped Real Briar Root. On the underside of the shank is stamped 69. The pipe is in decent shape for a oldtimer. It is tiny and delicate looking and that is hard to capture in these photos. The length of the pipe is 5 ¼ inches, the diameter of the bowl is 1 1/8 inches, the bowl height is1 3/8 inches. The bore on the bowl is 5/8 inches. The diameter of the shank and the stem is 3/8 inches. The stem is lightly oxidized and has some tooth chatter on the top and bottom near the button. The finish is dark and dirty with worn spots showing through the varnish that covered it. The aluminum on the shank and the stem was oxidized and lightly pitted.LHS1

LHS2 The bowl was slightly out of round on the back inner edge. There were some nicks in the inner edge and on the rim top.LHS3 Here is a close-up of the rim showing the nicks and damage to the rim.LHS3a

LHS4 I did a bit of searching on the internet and on the Pipephil site I found my pipe – An LHS Patent Purex. It is stamped like the second pipe in the photo below and has the Real Briar on the right side of the shank. The stem has a combination of the dot pattern in the photo below. Mine is in the pattern of the second one on the yellow stem but it has two white dots on the sides with a red dot in the middle.LHS5

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LHS7 I also researched the patent number and it led me to the following diagram and patent information. It was filed in 1924 and awarded on June 1, 1926. The interesting thing is that it combines some of the concepts from a later patent filing on July 1, 1932 and granted on May 9, 1933. The stamping places it as a 1926 pipe. The shape of the stinger and the threaded mortise make me think of the 1926 pipe in many ways. I cannot see deep enough into the pencil shank to see if there is a metal cup insert in the shank behind the mortise. Maybe that will become clear in the cleanup. The smooth portion of the tenon after the threads and the metal disk that is threaded into the stem make me think of the 1933 patent pipe. The threaded mortis is the same in both but if it ends in the shank without the cup then it has a lot of similarity to the 1933. The 1926 patent gives me a start date for this pipe and the 1933 patent gives me an end date. The fact that the metal works combine both makes me wonder if the pipe did not come out of the factor late 1920s or early 1930s just prior to the new patent release in 1933. I am including the two different patents for you to see the interesting combination in this pipe.LHS8

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LHS11 I have screen captured the insert in the shank and the stinger apparatus from the 1926 patent drawings. Figure 2 shows the stinger. It is identical in both the 1926 and the 1933 patent drawings. Figure 3 shows a metal cup that is inserted in the shank. The mortise end is threaded to receive the threads on the tenon. Figure 4 shows the end of the stem looking at the head on the stinger. The slot is at the top. Figure 5 shows the inside of the shank looking at it from the end. The mortise end is threaded and the cup has an airway hole in the center of the rounded end. That end sits against the airway from the bottom of the bowl as seen in Figure 6. When I started cleaning out the shank I was unsure of the interior. Once I was cleaning it I was certain that I was working with the insert that is shown in these figures. The inside of the shank is smooth and shiny now that it is clean. Looking down the shank with a flash light it is visible.LHS12 Here is a photo of the stinger – note the length of the tenon behind the stinger – particularly the smooth portion. Note also the metal plate on against the stem that is threaded and inserted into the vulcanite of the stem.LHS13 I have also included a screen capture below of Figure 2 from the 1933 patent drawings. The insert in the shank is shorter than the 1926 version and does not include the cup. The tenon is the same though it has a longer smooth portion. It also has a plate that rest against the face of the stem when inserted.LHS14 The rim damage required me to lightly top the bowl to minimize it and flatten the top of the rim. Doing so removed most of the damage and brought the bowl back into round.LHS15

LHS16 I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to try to break down the varnish coat. I sanded it with a fine grit sanding sponge to open the surface. It was stubborn stuff to remove. There was some beautiful grain under the dark varnish coat.LHS17

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LHS19 I still did not have the varnish coat removed so I dropped the bowl into an alcohol bath to let it soak. The dark colour of the alcohol bath comes from all of the bowls that have soaked in it in the past. I filter it but the dark colour remains. I like it as it adds a bit of a patina to the briar as it soaks there.LHS20 While the bowl soaked I worked on the stem. I cleaned out the inside of the stem and cleaned the stinger with pipe cleaners, cotton pads and alcohol.LHS21 With the inside clean I decided to take a break from working on this pipe and went out to enjoy a bit of sunshine while it is here in Vancouver. Rain is forecast and coming in even while I am outside. I picked about 6 pints of blueberries while I was outside.

When I came back to the pipe after it had been sitting in the bath for about an hour and a half. I dried it off with a paper towel. The varnish coat was gone and the topped bowl had picked up a patina from the bath that almost matched the colour of the briar of the bowl.LHS22

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LHS26 I scrubbed out the cup insert and mortise in the shank. It took a lot of scrubbing. I did not want to use the retort as I was not sure what the stem material was and did not want to risk dissolving it with the hot alcohol. I scrubbed it with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until they finally came out clean. I shone a flashlight down the shank from the bowl and the mortise and it was sparkling and shiny. It was indeed the cup insert – all doubts were removed.LHS27 With the insides and outside clean I rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil to highlight the grain. When it dried it made the grain pop and the rim colour was a match. I will need to give it multiple coats of carnauba wax once I am finished with the stem. The bowl however is going to be a beauty.LHS28

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LHS32 The nicks in the inner rim bothered me so I folded a piece of sandpaper and worked on the inner edge to smooth it out while keeping it round.LHS33

LHS34 I then mixed two stain pens – a medium and a dark brown to match the colour of the bowl and try to blend the rim in more closely. I then sanded the rim with a 3200 grit micromesh sanding pad to work on the blend even more.LHS35 I buffed the bowl with White Diamond and then set it aside so that I could finish working on the stem. I sanded it lightly with a fine grit sanding sponge and then worked on it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads, rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads. I gave it another coat and then sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads. When I finished I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.LHS36

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LHS38 I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buffing pad and then by hand with a microfibre cloth to give depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. LHS39

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LHS44 Thanks for looking.

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NEPAL PROJECT PIPE SALE 11 – Restoring a LHS Certified Purex 97 Squashed Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to add this LHS Bulldog to the sale. It is thus the eleventh pipe from the box of pipes that I was gifted by a good friend of mine with the instructed purpose of cleaning them up and selling them with all of the proceeds going to the aid of earthquake victims in Nepal. Once again all funds raised will all go to the SA Foundation, and organization that has worked in Nepal for over 15 years helping provide recovery, housing and job training for women who are victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. The ongoing earthquakes (over 300) that continue to shake Nepal have left much in ruins. The SA Foundation Project there was able to find new housing for the women and help with staff as well. Every dollar raised from the sale of these pipes will go to the work in Nepal.

It is an old LHS (LH Stern) Bulldog. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with the shape number 97 and almost over the top of that stamp is the application of a white imprinted logo. The logo reads LHS in a flattened diamond. On the top of the diamond it reads Certified Purex and on the bottom of the diamond it read Imported Briar.Bulldog1 I have had quite a few LHS pipes on my work table over the years but this is the first time I have seen this shape bulldog. It is squat and short but has a large bowl – the size of my thumb and the bowl is quite deep. There are two rings around the bowl and a bulldog cap. The rustication pattern is also quite unique – looking like a thatched pattern. There is an aluminum fitment in the shank of the pipe and an aluminum tenon with a separated stinger that screws into the fitment in the shank. The stem was slightly oxidized and underturned. There were no major tooth marks or chatter on the stem. The finish was in decent shape, just dirty and dusty. The rings around the cap were plugged with debris that would need to be cleaned out. The airway in the bottom of the bowl was very small looking. The bowl had been reamed recently and was clean that way.Bulldog2

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Bulldog4 If you look closely at the alignment of the metal band on the shank with the band on the stem you will see how it is underturned and how the band on the shank is slightly corroded next to the shank.Bulldog5

Bulldog6 The close up of the bowl shows the constricted airway at the bottom of the bowl on the back side. Too me it looked to be almost plugged with tars and would not be too difficult to open.Bulldog7 I unscrewed the stem from the shank to look at the internals. I have found that pipes with the metal fitment in the shank are generally quite dirty on the other side of the metal mortise and take some work to clean. This pipe was no exception. I tapped the metal end against my desk top and a lot of chunks of tar fell out on the desk top. The stinger was inserted into the threaded tenon and also was quite dirty and the slots in it were also restricted with buildup.Bulldog8 I heated the tenon and stinger with the flame of the lighter hoping to loosen the tenon in the shank and straighten the fit in the shank. I heated it until the stem itself was warm and the metal tenon did not budge. I was able to remove the stinger for cleaning.Bulldog9

Bulldog10 I examined the tenon insert in the stem (probably should have done this first). I found that the metal plate that acted as a stem adornment and the tenon were integrated into one piece and no amount of heating would ever loosen the tenon from the shank. I had to come up with another solution. I screwed the stem back on the pipe and set it aside to contemplate my course of action. I thought of adding a thin plate of Lucite or briar between the stem adornment and the shank adornment but decided against that. I let it sit for a while and worked on the stem.

Suddenly I figured out a potential fix. If I were to sand down the shank end enough to allow the stem to sit correctly I could possibly get the alignment correct. I measured the depth of the threads in the shank and then those on the tenon and found that the thread went deeper than the length of the tenon by about 1/8 of an inch. If I could remove some of the aluminum shank end plate I could get it to seat correctly. I used my topping board and pressed the end of the aluminum end plate flat against the board. I carefully worked it in a circular motion on the sandpaper. I checked frequently to make sure I did not take of too much or too little of the aluminum plate.Bulldog11 The next photo shows the end plate after it had been topped sufficiently. The scratches from the sandpaper would easily be polished off with micromesh. I have also included four photos of the different angles on the stem to show how the underturn had been corrected. The fit was perfect.Bulldog12

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Bulldog16 With the stem fit corrected I then turned to cleaning out the inside of the stem and the shank. It took many pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I also used the drill bit from the KleenReem reamer to open the airway into the bowl. Bulldog17 I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl down with oil soap and a tooth brush. I picked out the debris in the twin rings around the cap. I sanded the stem down with 220 grit sandpaper and then followed that by sanding with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge.Bulldog18

Bulldog19 There were two small tooth marks in the vulcanite on the underside of the stem. I repaired those with a drop of clear super glue. I sanded the glue patch with 220 grit sandpaper and then repeated sanding it with the two sanding sponges. When finished I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit pads. Between each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with an Obsidian Oil saturated sock that I use for this purpose. I let it sit for just a few moments before continuing with the next grit of pads. The oil gives traction for polishing the stem.Bulldog20

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Bulldog22 I used the micromesh pads to also polish the aluminum on the shank and the stem. I worked through all of the grits to polish it to a shine. I also used 0000 steel wool to polish the stinger and the tenon. Then I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond Plastic polish to further raise the shine. I put it back on the bowl and buffed the bowl and shank lightly with Blue Diamond. A light touch keeps the buffing compound from collecting in the grooves. I also carefully worked around the white stamping on the shank. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax and then rubbed the bowl down with Halcyon II Wax and hand buffed the bowl and shank with a shoe brush. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I really like the shape and the rustication on this one. I am looking forward to loading a bowl and enjoying it on the weekend ahead. Thanks John.Bulldog23

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Bulldog28 This LHS Bulldog is a beautiful pipe and the rustication and stain gives it almost a multidimensional look. It should make someone a great addition. The entirety of the sale price will go to the Nepal project. I will pay the postage so that does not get taken off the proceeds. If you are interested in reading about the SA Foundation you can look at their website at http://www.safoundation.com.

Thanks for looking.