Tag Archives: lifting tooth dents

A Quick Refurb on a BBB Straight Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I picked this little BBB ** Bulldog up yesterday at a flea market for $16. It is stamped BBB in a diamond over ** on the left side of the shank. The other side is stamped 401 (shape number) over Made in England. The first four pictures below show what it looked like when I found it. It was hidden under a group of worn old pipes and this one and a little Comoy’s Guildhall became mine. The bowl was in pretty clean shape. The finish is clean with only a small dark spot on the shank where it must have touch a coal in an ashtray. The wood is not burned only darkened. The rim was clean but for a little tar. The bowl did not need to be reamed though it was a little out of round. The inner edge of the rim on the front right is a bit damaged from lighting the pipe repeatedly in the same spot. The double rings around the bowl were filled with wax in many spots and would need to be cleaned out for them to really show well. The stem had tooth marks on the underside and topside near the button and the tooth chatter on the oxidized stem would need some work. The BBB diamond was full of gunk and was oxidized with a greenish hue. Inside the shank and stem were dirty but would not take much to clean it up.

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I put the next picture in to show the little Comoy’s Guildhall that I picked up at the same time and give a feel for the size of the pair. Both will not need a lot of work to bring them up to being ready for a smoke.

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I used silver polish to begin with and cleaned the brass BBB logo. I wanted to see what kind of shape it was in before I began work on the stem. It turned out to be in great shape under the grime and oxidation. The BBB stamp is clean and sharp and the lines in the background are still visible. Once I had the logo cleaned I worked on the tooth chatter and tooth marks in the stem. I used 320 grit sandpaper to work out the tooth chatter and a lighter to heat up the bite marks and lift them out. I then sanded them with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the remnants of them. The next series of three photos show the stem after sanding tooth chatter and bite marks out of the stem.

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I cleaned the rim by lightly sanding it with 320 grit sandpaper and then wiping it down with saliva until the tars were removed. The photo below shows the rim after the sanding and cleaning.

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I sanded the stem with a medium grit sanding sponge to remove the scratches left by the sandpaper and then polished it with Maguiar’s Scratch X2.0. The next series of three photos show the stem as I worked on it with the micromesh sanding pads 1500-12,000 grit. In this case I wet sanded with the 1500, 1800 and 2400 grit micromesh and then dry sanded with the remaining grits of micromesh.

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I gave the bowl a quick buff with White Diamond and then gave it several coats of carnauba wax. The next four photos show the polished bowl.

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The next three photos show the stem after it has been polished with the micromesh pads up through 12,000 grit. I then used the Maguiar’s polish to finish off the polishing. The oxidation around the stem medallion and on the top sides of the saddle came off with some serious scrubbing with the polish. I also used a dental pick to clean out the two rings around the bowl cap of the bulldog.

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The next series of four photos show the finished pipe, cleaned and ready to smoke. I rubbed the stem with Obsidian Oil and then once dry gave the whole pipe several coats of carnauba wax. The dark burn mark on the shank is only surface but still shows clearly in the finished pipe  – won’t affect the way it smokes though.

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Restoration of an old BBB Own Make 622


When I saw this one on EBay it grabbed my attention. I have always loved BBB pipes and found that they are great smokers and often fly under the radar. This one is stamped BBB Own Make on the left side of the shank and Made in London England 622 on the right side of the shank. The stem was an obvious replacement stem from the pictures. The band is a factory original stamped BBB and Sterling Silver. The grain showed promise and the bowl looked to be in good shape under the grime. I would know more once it arrived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once it arrived I took time to look it over. The bowl indeed had some great looking grain under the grime. The rim was covered with a thick coat of tar and carbon. The bowl looked to be unmarked by reaming and was still round. The cake on the inside was crumbly and sticky. The entire shank was caked with the sticky grime as was the stem. Definitely a goopy aromatic had been smoked in this old timer. The sterling silver BBB band had dents in it but was unbroken and uncracked. It was definitely an original band as when the stem was removed the shank was not cracked or damaged. The stem was indeed a replacement. It was a standard blank that still had some of the edge marks from the casting on it. It also short in terms of the length of the original pipe as I have found it on pictures on the web and in the catalogues. I was unable to find the 622 with a saddle stem like this one. It did not have the BBB diamond logo or a stamping of BBB on the stem either.

One of the reasons I bid on the pipe was that I had a BBB taper stem in my can of stems that looked like it would be a perfect fit for the pipe. Once I had it out of the box and on my work table I took out the old stem and sanded the tenon a little to make it fit correctly and slid it into place. The diameter of the stem was a perfect match to the shank and the tapered stem fit well with the pot shape. The two looked like they belonged together. Once the fit was smooth and well seated I put the replacement saddle stem into my can of stems to be used one day on a pipe that needed to be restemmed.

I put the bowl into the alcohol bath for about a half hour while I worked on removing the oxidation from the stem. I placed the stem in a bath of Oxyclean and hot water to soak when I took the bowl out of the alcohol bath. The Oxyclean softens the oxidation and makes it easier to work with than the hard unsoftened oxidation. The bowl was a real mess and I wanted to get the grime and remnants of the old finish removed so I could start fresh with the bowl and restain it. When I took the bowl out of the bath it looked like is shown in next three pictures. The finish was gone but for a few grey spots at the bowl shank junction and around the rim. The top of the bowl was seriously covered with goopy tars and black sludge that would take some work to remove. You notice in the first picture that on the right side of the bowl near the front were two fills that needed to be addressed as the putty had shrunken and they were divots.

I reamed the bowl to remove the internal grime and get back to the wood. I find that a soak in the alcohol bath softens the cake making removal much easier. It does not chip or break around the rim. I also cleaned the shank with pipe cleaners, a shank brush and alcohol to clear out the tars. I also used a drill bit that I had turned into the shank to clean out the hardened tars. Once I had it clean I used some emery cloth and turned the bowl top into the cloth to remove the chunks of tar and carbon build up. The next series of three pictures show the pipe during and after using the emery cloth. The last picture shows clearly the extent of the grime and tar build up even after sanding the top of the bowl.

Once the bowl was at the point in the photo above I then reamed the bowl a second time to clean up the remaining build up and then wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads. The next series of five pictures show the pipe after the repeated wipe down with acetone. The briar is clean and ready for some work on the fills and some work to remove some of the damage to the inner side of the rim – you will notice in the last photo in the series.

I picked out the putty fills and wiped the bowl down one last time with acetone before dripping super glue and briar dust into the sandpits. The briar dust and superglue makes a far nicer looking fill in my opinion than the pink putty ever will. Once the glue had dried I sanded it with 240 grit sandpaper to see if there were any dents or dimples in the patch and refilled until the surface was smooth. I sanded repeatedly with the 240 grit until the patch blended into the surface and the glue was off of the surround clean briar.

I then used a piece of sandpaper to bevel the inner edge of the rim into the bowl to lessen the effect of the burned area. I aim for an even bevel all the way around the bowl rim and thus the effect of the burn will disappear with the stain coat. I took the stem out of the Oxyclean bath and wiped it down with a cotton cloth to remove the softened oxidation. I then reinserted it into the pipe to check for a good fit. You can see in the first picture below the beveled rim and the fit of the stem. The stem is almost back to a clean black finish. The oxidation is virtually gone and only needs to be polished and sanded with micromesh pads to bring back the shine. This particular stem also had two deep tooth marks on the top and bottom of the stem near the button. I decided to deal with them after I had finished cleaning and polishing the stem and staining and polishing the bowl.

I gave the pipe a first coat of oxblood stain, flamed it and buffed it off with Tripoli. You can see that it gave a fairly good coverage but was a bit too opaque to my liking. I wanted the grain to be more visible so I washed the pipe down with acetone to remove some of the depth of colour and highlight the grain. In the photos below you can see the pipe after I wiped it down with the acetone and buffed it with White Diamond. It still was not the finish I was looking for so I sanded the bowl with 1500 and 1800 grit micromesh to smooth the surface and then heated the bowl with my heat gun to open the grain of the wood before giving it a second coat of oxblood stain.

The next series of four pictures show the finish that I was looking for. The grain shows through clearly and the bevel and stain on the rim minimize the effect of the burn marks. The stem is also cleaned and polished but the bite marks still remain in the pictures below. After staining and flaming the pipe I buffed it with White Diamond and then waxed it with several coats of carnauba before buffing with a soft clean flannel buff.

At that point last evening I set the pipe aside to be finished today. When I came home from work this evening I used the heat gun to raise the dents in the stem on the top and underside. The first two photos show the effect of the heat gun in raising the dents. Once I have the dents raised as far as I can lift them I used 240 grit sandpaper to level the surface of the stem and I have found that the combination of the heat and the sanding takes care of most dents in the surface of the stem as long as they are just dents and not cut marks. I finished sanding those areas of the stem with micromesh pads from 1500-12,000 grit until the stem had its own inner shine. When I was finished I coated the stem with Obsidian Oil and once dry, buffed it with carnauba wax and a soft flannel buff. To finish off the pipe I gave it several more coats of wax and buffed it by hand with a soft cotton cloth.

Refurb on a Two Point Billiard – Gnawed Stem


This is the second Two Point pipe that I had in my box to be refurbished. It obviously was owned by the same pipe man as the little Lovat as evidenced by the matching bite marks. The pipe had an uneven cake in the bowl making the bowl conical even though it was U-shaped in reality under the cake. The rim was dirty and tarred but not damaged with dents or knock marks. The finish was spotty and uneven so the bowl would need to be stripped and restained for good coverage. The biggest problem can be seen in the first two pictures below: the stem was very badly chewed. In the first picture it can be seen that the top of the stem had several deep bite marks and the button was eliminated on the left side. It was more of an upward slope to the tip than the sharp angular edge that was originally there. The round cap of the top of the p-lip button was smoothed out and no longer crowned. In the second picture you can see that the bottom tooth marks and bite throughs had been repaired with what appeared to be epoxy that was fairly caked on the stem tip to the point that the lip line and the button were gone. What remained was a working stem that had no beauty to my eye.

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The third and fourth photos show the profile of the button and it can be seen to have been virtually eliminated with the slope of the epoxy on the bottom edge and the chewed top edge. You can also see the state of the finish on the pipe. The spottiness and grime that covered the outside of the bowl are visible. Obviously this was a good smoking pipe that the previous owner cobbed a repair on so that he could continue to enjoy smoking it.

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The next two photos are enlarged to show the state of the stems. The first one shows the top of the stem and you can see the two large dents (interestingly they are in the same place as those on the other Two Point pipe).You can also see the wearing away of the edge of the button to a slope. The crown is also flattened. The second shows the underside of the stem and the remaining two dents – one next to the button on the bottom half of the stem and the second inward from that dent. You can also clearly see the epoxy patch that fills the bite through and the button. The usual line that separates the button on the p-lip from the stem is gone. To repair these two surfaces the dents need to be raised and the holes filled to the point where it is possible to cut a new button on the top and the bottom. The crown will need to be built up a bit and the epoxy patch hidden or blended into the black of the stem.

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I decided to work on the top side of the stem first and heated the surface of the vulcanite to lift the dents as much as possible. Once that was finished I filled what remained of the two dents with black super glue (see the first photo below). The dent next to the button I over filled so that I could have room to recut the edge of the button. When the glue had dried I sanded it back with 240 grit sandpaper to even the surface. I also recut the button edge to give it more of a sharp distinction. The sanded top surface can be seen in the second photo below.

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On the underside of the stem I decided to recut the button and the line with needle files before I refilled the dents and the epoxy patch. I sanded off the extra epoxy to get the surface smooth and level with the surface of the stem. I used 240 grit sand paper to bring the surface down and the needle files to cut the edge on both sides of the line. You can now see that line in the picture below and there is a definite break between the bottom of the p-lip and the stem. It is a duplicate of the button on the Two Point Lovat.

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Once I had that recut the button area I filled the surface of the stem with black super glue as seen in the picture below. I propped it with a pen to keep the surface level as I did not want the super glue to run and pool. I also built up the epoxy patch on the edge of the button as well. Once the glue was dry I sanded the surface and did a bit of work with the needle files to redefine the edges. The second picture below shows the sanded stem with a smooth surface.

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I finished sanding the stem with 400 and 600 grit sandpaper and water and then moved through the micromesh pads from 1500-6000 grit. The trick was to build a black coating on the epoxy patch. This took repeated coats of the black super glue. Once that was complete then the stem could be polished by hand until I finished with the bowl refinishing.

While I had been working on the stem the bowl had been soaking in the alcohol bath. Before dropping it in the bath I had wiped it down with a soft cloth and acetone (fingernail polish remover works very well) to remove the finish and the grime. It was time for it to be removed from the bath so that I could work on it. The three pictures below show the bowl after it has dried off from the alcohol bath. It now needed to be sanded with micromesh to remove any surface scratches and the rim needed to be thoroughly wiped down in preparation for the staining. I sanded and then wiped it down with a soft alcohol soaked cloth and set up the staining area.

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The next four photos show the restained bowl. I used a medium brown aniline based stain (Fiebings Leather Dye) to stain the pipe. Once it was stained I flamed it and buffed it to polish the briar and make the grain stand out. The patterns of birdseye and swirls is quite unique. This is a clean piece of briar – no fills and no problem areas.

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I then put the stem on the pipe and buffed the entirety with White Diamond and carnauba wax to bring it back to a shine. The final four photos show the finished pipe. Pay attention to the stem and button areas as they are now very distinct in the profiles and the build-up on the top and bottom give it back its original shape.

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Rebuilding a chewed and dented stem with super glue


I just finished reworking this old stem from an Imperial Two Point Made in London Lovat. The stem was very unique in that it is a p-lip design though slotted in the airway. I have a second one that I am working on that has the same stem so I believe this is one of the hallmarks of the Two Point. That being the case I decided to restore the stem rather than cut a new one. You can see the state of the vulcanite from the three pictures below. The first picture is of the top of the stem. There were three major tooth dents in the surface of the stem, two chunks out of the edge of the button and a piece missing out of the edge of the lip of the slot. The second picture is of the underside of the stem. There you can see one major dent from teeth and also several smaller dents. There is also a dent in the edge of the lip of the pipe that has moved the straight line with a dip in it. The third picture shows the slot in the end of the stem, it is a bit out of focus but you can see the missing piece at the left side of the top edge.

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I used my heat gun set on low to lift the dents as much as possible before working on the stem with sandpaper and superglue patches. I cleaned the surfaces of both the top and bottom of the stem after heating and then sanded them with 240 grit sandpaper to remove oxidation and anything that would prohibit the glue from sticking. In the first photo below you can see the two patches on the dents that remained after heating on the underside of the stem and the work that has been done straightening the line. I decided to work on the underside first as it needed a bit less repair. Once the glue was dry I turned the stem over and patched the top side. In the second photo below you can see the super glue patches on the surface of the stem, the two dents on the edge of the button to build up the edge. Once it was dry I planned on using needle files on both top and bottom to sharpen the edge of the button to a crisp restored look.

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The next two photos show the top and bottom surfaces of the stem after sanding with 240 grit sandpaper to bring the glue patches flush with the surface and using the needle files to sharpen the edges of the patched button.

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The next picture (I apologize for the blurriness but I think it still is clear enough to see the point I am making) shows the work that was needed to rebuild the lip of the button on the topside where the chip was. I carefully layered in black superglue making sure not to close off the airway. I used a greased pipe cleaner folded in half in the airway of the slot to provide a base to build on. Once the base was buildt I stood the stem on end and gradually layered in super glue to build up the top edge of the slot. The goal was to return it to a smooth rounded crown with a clean straight slot for the airway.

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The next two pictures show the build up area on the end of the button. It is a shiny black spot in the photo at the bottom right edge of the button. Each one shows a bit more of the build up to give an idea of the process. I would have to recut the edge of the button on the top side when the build up was complete.

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When I had the surface filled to satisfaction I recut the edge of the button with the needle files and also sanded the surface with 240 grit sandpaper and 400 and 600 grit wet dry and water to smooth out the fill. I then proceeded to use my normal list of micromesh pads from 1500-6000 grit to finish the stem. I put the stem back on the pipe and buffed it with White Diamond. I took it back to the work desk and gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil, wiped it off when dry and gave the stem a final coat of carnauba wax. The pictures below show the finished stem. The first one shows the topside and the rebuilt crown of the button. The glare and shadows on the picture do not allow you to see clearly the recut edge but it is straight and clean. The second picture shows the underside of the stem and the crisp straight edge of the button. The final picture is an end shot to show the slot and the curve and flow of the crown of the button.

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Overall I am pleased with the repair and now have a renewed pipe.

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