Tag Archives: London Royal Pipes

Breathing new life into a London Royal Bullmoose Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I sent a meerschaum lined pipe to Jim. He received it and sent me a note saying that he had sent two pipes to me to have a look at and refurbish. The first of them was a Bullmoose shaped pot. It was an interesting shaped pipe and was stamped on the left side of the shank with the words London Royal and on the right side Imported Briar. I looked on Pipephil’s website http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l5.html and found the following.It appears that the pipe was made by LH Stern (LHS) in Brooklyn, New York in the US. The pipe that Jim sent to me was in rough shape. The bowl had a thick cake and the rim had a lava overflow and had been hammered out on hard surfaces to the point that the bowl front at the top was beaten and damaged. The inner edge of the rim top was damaged and the bowl was out of round. The finish was in really rough condition as well. It was cloudy and looked like the pipe was water damaged. It had a 14K thin gold band on the shank end and a saddle stem that had some tooth chatter and tooth marks on both the top and underside near the button. There was a faint hat logo on the left side of the saddle. The vulcanite was lightly oxidized but otherwise the damage was quite minimal. Jim included a note in the package that said the slot was too narrow to take a pipe cleaner. The tenon was threaded and still aligned with the shank. With a pipe in this condition I am always looking for pluses. I took close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the general condition of the bowl and stem surfaces. The close up of the rim top shows the dents and damage to the front of the rim top. The out of round bowl edge is also visible. There is a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the top surface. The stem is in decent condition. There are some tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. The gold band also has some damage to the finish and the band is loose on the shank. It is not torn or split.I unscrewed the stem from the shank and the inside of the mortise and the threaded tenon was dirty and coated with thick tars and oils.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer. I used the third cutting head and took the cake back to bare walls. I cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove all remaining remnants of cake.I wiped down the outside of the briar with acetone on cotton pads to remove the spotted, water damaged finish on the bowl and shank. I took photos to show how it looked at this point in the process. I topped the bowl lightly on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I sanded the bowl with folded pieces of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the finish.I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads. I filled in the damaged areas on the bowl and rim top with clear super glue.Once the glue dried I sanded the repaired areas back to smooth. I wanted to blend the repaired spots into the surface of the briar. The band was loose on the shank so I removed it and cleaned off the briar and the inside of the band so I could reglue it to the shank.I cleaned out the inside of the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils that had built up on the threads of the metal insert and the mortise ahead of the insert.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I polished the gold band at the same time. The photos that follow show the progress. I used a Maple stain pen to touch up the sanded rim top. I scrubbed the bowl with Before and After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar to enliven, clean and protect the briar. It also evened out the stain on the rim top. I buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to polish the briar. I used some Weldbond all-purpose white glue to reset the band on the shank. I pressed it place and aligned the 14K stamp on the band on the underside of the shank. I wiped off the excess glue with a water dampened cotton pad.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on the surface of the vulcanite. I sanded out the tooth chatter and also sanded around the tooth marks on both sides.I used needle files to open the slot in the button of the stem. I reshaped and opened it to make it easier to push a pipe cleaner through the slot. The first photo shows the slot before I had worked on it. The second one shows the opened slot.With the slot opened I was able to clean out the inside of the stem and tenon. I used pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to clean out the oils. I scrubbed the threads on the tenon with steel wool and alcohol.I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the top hat logo on the left side of the saddle stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding the stem with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. The photos show the increasing shine on the stem. I finished by polishing it with Before and After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and hand buffed it with a soft cloth. This Imported Briar London Royal Bullmoose Pot turned out to be a real beauty with a mix of interesting grain underneath the grime and the damaged finish. The grain really is quite stunning. The rim top looks much better. The vulcanite stem is high quality and shined up well. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The rich brown stain allows the grain to really stand out on this little pipe and it works well with the rich black of the vulcanite stem. I will be sending it back to Jim once I finish working on his second pipe. I will be sending it to him soon and I know that he is looking forward to enjoying his first bowl in it. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Advertisements

Reborn London Royal Apple Restemmed with a Saddle Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

I am down to about 16 pipes in my box to be refurbished and all of them need to be restemmed. Some of them are full of fills or are just pipes that for one reason or another I have avoided dealing with. But I am at the bottom of the box and need something to work on so I am left to choosing from that lot. Last evening I chose this little apple shaped pipe, fit a new stem on it and reworked the finish and the fit of the stem. It is stamped London Royal on the left side of the shank and on the right side Imported Briar. It seems to me that it is thus an American made pipe. I have done no research on it so I have no idea of the manufacturer. The first series of four photos show the pipe after I turned a tenon to fit the shank. I used a new stem blank that is a nice hard vulcanite that seems less prone to oxidize. The dust from sanding is black. You can see the shape of the bowl and the condition it was in when I started in these photos.

Image

The tenon was long for the shank so it would need to be taken down until it fits snugly against the bottom of the mortise. You can see from the photos the small fill on the bottom of the left side of the bowl. The stem blank would also need to be cleaned up to remove the remnants of the casting.

ImageImage

In the photo above you can see that the bowl still has tobacco in it and the cake uneven and rough. The rim is dirty and caked. There is one slight burned area on the rim as well on the front right side of the inner edge of the rim.

Image

I shortened the tenon in order to get the snug fit in the mortise. I was then able to get the stem to fit snugly against the shank. I reamed the bowl to clean up the uneven cake. The next two photos show the stem fit and the reamed bowl. The bottom of the bowl has a groove in it that looks like it was made to fit a stinger apparatus that extended into the bottom of the bowl. I do not have that apparatus as the bowl came to me without a stem. The bottom of the bowl is still fairly thick so it should not be a problem, but it could be remedied with pipe mud should I choose to do so at a later time.

ImageImage

I topped the bowl lightly to remove the tars on the rim and also to try to minimize the burned area that is visible in the photo above on the front right inner edge of the bowl. The next two photos show the topped bowl and the minimized rim char. I planned on removing the finish from the bowl of the pipe so staining the entire pipe should blend in the rim and bowl as well as hide the rim damage a bit.

ImageImage

The next three photos show the stem after I have worked on the diameter of the saddle where it meets the shank and removed the rough edges of the casting of the stem. I run my Dremel at a speed that allows me to control the sanding drum as I use it to remove the excess material on the stem. In this case you can see that the excess is mainly on the top and the left side of the stem. I have found that using the Dremel with the sanding drum carefully can make the fitting of a stem short work. This particular stem blank is very high quality vulcanite as can be seen in the photos below. As I sanded the stem the sanding dust was black and the finished stem retained a very black look and colour as well. The shaping of the stem also had to take into account the changes made in the saddle as material was removed from the top of the stem and the left side. I used the sanding drum to rework the saddle area where is curves into the blade of the stem on both sides. I also had to reshape the blade to make both sides match in terms of the curves of the edges toward the button. The photos show the newly shaped and cleaned up stem. All that remains at this point is a lot of sanding and polishing before the stem is ready.

ImageImageImage

The next series of three photos below shows the pipe after I have washed the bowl with acetone to remove the finish and then sanded it with 320 grit sandpaper. I was careful around the stamping in order to leave it in tact. I wanted to bring the bowl and the rim to the same state so that the new stain would take well and match. I also sanded the stem with a medium grit sanding sponge to smooth it out as well. I wanted the shank stem transition to be smooth and even with no high or low points in the fit. The pipe revealed some really nice looking grain on the left side of the bowl but had bald spots on other side of the bowl.

ImageImageImage

I wiped the bowl and shank a final time with acetone and a cotton pad to remove the sanding dust and prepare it for staining. The next series of three photos below show the pipe after I stained it. I used a dark brown aniline stain mixed 2:1 with isopropyl alcohol. I stained the pipe, flamed it with a lighter, restained it, reflamed it. I gave the rim several extra coats to make sure the pipe was evenly stained.

ImageImageImage

After the stain was dried I took the pipe to the buffer and buffed it with Tripoli and White Diamond to remove excess stain. The stain coat was very even but it was still too dark to my liking so I used some isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove some of the heaviness of the stain from the pipe. The next three photos show the pipe after I had removed much stain. The cotton pad is darkened with the brown stain. The grain is becoming more visible as I worked on the finish with the isopropyl alcohol.

ImageImageImage

I then sanded the stem some more with some fine grit emery cloth to even up the stem shank junction. The next series of four photos show the pipe after the sanding. The bowl and shank are close to the colour I was aiming for. I would need to remove a bit more colouring from them to get it so the grain shows through the finish.

ImageImageImageImage

I took the pipe back to the buffer and gave it a buff with Tripoli and White Diamond. I use a light touch around the stamping on the shank and then hand buff that with a shoe shine brush to get it to shine. The next series of two photos show the finished bowl. There is still some work that needs to be done on the fit of the stem to the shank.

ImageImage

The next three photos show the stem after I used the sanding sponge on it to bring the stem even with the shank. The colour of the pipe is also exactly what I wanted in this pipe. The small fill on the left side of the bowl is no longer visible without a close examination. Once the stem was at this point it was ready for sanding with the micromesh pads and polishing with Maguiar’s.

ImageImageImage

I wet sanded the stem with 1500, 1800 and 2400 grit micromesh sanding pads wiping the stem down between changes in grit. I repeated this sequence of pads until the fine scratches were out of the stem. Where I had recut the saddle had some very fine scratches that were very hard to remove. After this sanding I used Maguiar’s hand applied and rubbed into the stem then wiped off and scrubbed with a cotton pad. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12,000 grit micromesh following the polish. I also repeated the polish with Maguiar’s. When finished I took the pipe to the buffer and gave the entirety a buff with White Diamond and then gave it several coats of carnauba wax to give it a shine. The final series of four photos show the finished pipe.

ImageImageImageImageImage