Tag Archives: Mastersen Freehand Pipes

Refreshing a Mastersen Burl Briar Made in France Freehand

Blog by Dal Stanton

My first restoration project of the new year is on my work table!  After visiting family in the US for the holidays, and putting in some overdue ‘Grandpa time’, I’m glad to be back to Sofia, Bulgaria, in our 10th floor flat of a formerly Communist Block apartment building.  I acquired the Mastersen Freehand before me in the Lot of 66 some time ago – an acquisition off eBay that has produced many newly commissioned pipes for stewards around the globe.  And what’s great about this is not only that these pipes were placed in the hands of stewards but that each pipe has benefited the work we do here in Bulgaria with the foundation, Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  I’m thankful for those pipe men and women who have commissioned the restoration of these pipes from the For ‘’Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection on the ThePipeSteward website.  This is where Paul debated over 4 pipes and in the end commissioned two pipes, this Mastersen Freehand and a very nice Kaywoodie Prime Grain Imported Briar ‘Fancy’ Bulldog, which will be next in the queue.  Now on my worktable, this is what got Paul’s attention. The nomenclature situated on the underside of the shank is worn and thin.  The stamp is MASTERSEN [over] BURL BRIAR [over] MADE IN FRANCE.  Pipedia’s information about Mastersen shows that it was a name originally belonging to the Shalom Pipe Co. of Israel.  The Pipedia article goes on to say, “Shalom was taken over by Robert L. Marx of New York City, later Sparta, NC, then of Mastercraft.”  Mastersen is mentioned also in the Pipedia description of Mastercraft, which was cited from a very interesting 2008 thread devoted to Dr. Grabow pipes from Tapatalk.com – the specific thread was named, Mastercraft Pipes, Grabow Parallel Universe.  The main contributor was Ted, who from 1974 till 1984 had several positions with Mastercraft including Executive Vice President.  Ted’s reminiscences were fun to read, but my main interest was to understand better what happened with the name Mastersen.  Mastersen’s original stamping with the Shalom Pipe Co., would be marked with Israel as the Country of Manufacturing (COM).  Yet, the Mastersen on my table shows a French COM.  Ted’s reflections on those years with the relationship of Mastercraft, the subsequent owner of the Mastersen name, gave some clues.  This short statement was helpful describing Mastercraft’s acquisition of pipes for sale:

It doesn’t appear it was ever a manufacturer and bought pipes from multiple factories — mostly French and English…. Freehand, For M/C Andersen and (a few Mastersen) ….

My guess based upon this scant information is that the original Shalom Mastersen Freehand style was later manufactured in France under Mastercraft ownership (1970s to 1980s?).  The style of the pipe before me is consistent with Pipephil’s example of the Mastersen Freehand produced in Israel.An interesting characteristic of this Freehand is it size.  For a Freehand it could be described as diminutive.  The length is 5 inches, height: 2 inches at the crest, plateau width: 1 1/2 inches, chamber width: 1 inch and chamber depth: 1 1/2 inches (at the middle of the slanted plateau).  I found this description of a similar Mastersen with an Israel COM described for sale on SmokingPipes.com.  Christophor Huff’s description nailed the Mastersen on my worktable as well regarding it size yet plenty of room for tobacco:The condition of the Mastersen on my worktable is good but needs the normal cleaning.  The plateau has minor darkening and the chamber has a very light cake.  I detect one small divot on the right side of the shank that needs attention.  Minor tooth chatter is evident on the bit and some oxidation in the stem.  Perhaps the most noticeable issue is the fancy stem fit – it is quite loose.  The tenon will need to be expanded to make the army style pressure fit snugger.

To begin the restoration of the Mastersen, I run some pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% through the fancy bent stem to clean the airway and then place it in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer.  It joins a few other pipes and their stems that are in queue for restoration.  After several hours soaking, I fish out the Mastersen’s stem and drain the Deoxidizer fluid.  I then wipe off the stem removing much oxidation using a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  I also run pipe cleaners through the airway to remove Deoxidizer from the internals.  After wiping with alcohol, I then apply paraffin oil (a mineral oil) to condition the vulcanite and set the stem aside.  The Before & After did a good job with the oxidation. The pictures show the progress. Turning now to the Freehand bowl, I begin the cleaning process my reaming the chamber using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I use the two smaller blade heads of four and then quickly remove the remaining carbon using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool.  I sand the chamber wrapping 240 grit paper around a Sharpie pen and then wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to clear out the remaining carbon dust.  The chamber looks good except that I detect a pit near the top of the chamber – just below the plateau.  I take a couple pictures to get a close look.  My thoughts are that this blemish in the briar is too high to be impacted in a large way by the fire in the chamber.  Just to be on the safe side of things, I will fill it, but will CA do the job, or do I need to apply a touch of the heat resistant J-B Weld putty since it is in the chamber?  I’ll give some thought to this and I decide to send a note to Steve with all his rebornpipes experience to get his input.  The pictures show the progress. From the chamber, I now clean the externals using undiluted Murphy’s Soap.  I scrub with cotton pads on the smooth briar and utilize a bristled tooth brush to clean the plateau – getting into the crevices. The cleaning reveals a very nice piece of briar.  The dimple on the bowl’s left side is attractive as it is in relief to the smooth briar.  Three pictures before and two after the cleaning showing the lightening of the surface. Now to the internals using pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95%.  It did not take too much, and buds and pipe cleaners were coming out clean.Turning now to the stem, the Before & After Deoxidation soak did a good job.  The upper bit has some bite compressions and chatter on both upper and lower.  The button lip has some biting as well.  I start passively by using the heating method to expand the vulcanite compressions.  Using a Bic lighter, I paint the upper- and lower-bit areas.  As the vulcanite heats, physics takes over – it expands and naturally reclaims its original shaping – or at least partially.  This method works well, and I follow easily with sanding out the remaining tooth damage using 240 and then 470 grit papers.  I took before and after pictures and I’ll let you be the judge how effective the heating method often is.

Upper, before and after: I follow the bit sanding by wet sanding the entire stem with 600 grit paper followed by 0000 steel wool.Giving the stem a respite, I look again to the pits that need repair on the stummel.  A very small pit on the right side of the stummel and the larger pit on the upper area of the chamber – just under the edge of the plateau.  After getting a note back from Steve with his input, I will use briar dust and CA glue putty to fill the pits in both places.  With the upper chamber fill, I will follow this later by applying a coat of activated charcoal and sour cream mix to the entire chamber.  This will protect the fill as well as encourage the growth of a new protective cake.  I take a few pictures to get a close-up of each pit and then I mix a batch of briar dust and CA glue.  I mix it gradually until the mixture reaches a thickness or viscosity like molasses.  I then use a tooth pick as a trowel and apply the filler to the pits.  For the upper chamber pit, I give the area an extra tamping to assure that the cavity is filled.  I put the stummel aside for the night, allowing the briar dust putty to fully cure.  The pictures show the process. The next morning, before the demands of the day come, I return to the stummel with the briar dust patches fully cured.  I use a flat needle file and begin removing the excess filler on the smaller patch.  I use the file until nearly to the briar surface then I switch to sanding with a piece of 240 grit paper bringing the patch down flush with the briar surface.  I do the same with the larger fill in the upper chamber, except using a half-rounded needle file I’m able to sand with the contour of the chamber.  I then finish the upper chamber sanding by using 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie pen.  I like the results. With the stummel repair completed, I turn to the revitalization of the fancy stem by wet sanding with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem between each set of three pads to enrich the vulcanite.  I love the pop of that freshly sanded vulcanite – it looks great! Now we’re close to the homestretch.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stummel.  Following this I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I enjoy watching the grain surfacing through the micromesh process. I had written Steve before to get his input regarding the chamber pit repair.  The other question I asked was regarding darkening the plateau or leaving it natural and allowing the natural forces of burning tobacco and lava to color the rim surface? His advice was good and something I try to do when restoring pipes that have nomenclature and historical markers.  It is good to restore pipes according to the original intent when the pipe was manufactured.  Most of the examples of Mastersen pipes I have seen online predate the acquisition of the Shalom Pipe Co., by Mastercraft which were manufactured in Israel.  I’ve seen both natural and darkened plateaus – here are a few examples I found.It is difficult to tell by looking at the original picture I took of the plateau before starting the restoration to know what the original was – yet, if I had to guess, originally the inner part of the plateau was darkened some, but not fully.  That is, much natural briar was exposed.  The second picture is the current status of the plateau during this restoration process. Well, decision time has come and gone.  Using a black Sharpie Pen I introduce highlights to the plateau by coloring the crevices.  I start conservatively to get a feel for how it’s looking.  I begin with a fine point Sharpie to draw down the narrow crevices then I use a larger one to stroke the larger areas. After applying what looks like an adequate amount of black, I then fan wipe the rim surface with a cotton pad with only a hint of alcohol.  This has the effect of blending and soften the black hues over the contours of the landscape.Finally, I start with about a mid-range grit micromesh pad, 3600, and I proceed to sand the plateau.  I move from 3600 to the finest grit pad, 12000.  This serves to further blend and to uncover the ridges of the briar.  This gives the look more contrast which I like – the black and the brown briar.  Overall, I think it looks good.Before moving on, I need to take care of the stem fit that I noticed earlier was too loose.  I retry the fit and it remains too loose for comfort.  To remedy this, I find a drill bit that is just the next size larger than what will fit in the airway.  Using a Bic lighter, I fan a flame around the end of the tenon to heat the vulcanite to make it pliable.  My first attempt to push the smooth end of the bit into the hole was not successful – it was still too tight.  I then use a pointed Dremel sculpting bit to help open the hole a bit so that the larger drill bit could be inserted into the airway.  I heated the tenon again and press the pointed Dremel tool into the hole to expand it slightly – which is enough.  I heat the tenon again and when it becomes supple I gradually and gently insert the bit in the airway as far as it will go without great effort.  Leaving the bit in the tenon, I again reheat the tenon as well as the metal of the bit to help the internal movement.  Again, when the vulcanite softens, I push the bit in a little further into the airway.  With this movement of the bit, the tenon is gradually expanding to close the gap making the fit with the shank snugger.  With the last heating and movement of the tenon, without withdrawing the bit, I run the tenon under cool tap water to set the vulcanite to assure that it will remain expanded.  I then heat only the metal of the bit to loosen the vulcanite’s grip on it and withdraw it with the help of pliers.  I try the stem fit again and success!  A very nice, comfortable, snug fit with the tenon inserted into the shank.Next, before moving to the Dremel polishing and waxing phases, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the Freehand stummel that is looking very nice.  I like this Restoration Balm because it subtly brings out deeper, richer tones of the natural briar presentation.  I squirt a little of the Balm on my finger and then simply work it into the briar grain.  It starts as a thinner texture and then thickens as the Balm works into the surface.  I apply the Balm on the rim as well.  After letting it set for several minutes to absorb the Balm, I wipe/buff the excess Balm with a microfiber cloth.  I like it. The pictures I take, I’m not sure are able to pick up on the subtle deepening that I perceive with the naked eye.  The pictures are before, during Balm absorbing and then after buffed off. Next, I reunite stem and stummel and mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel and set the speed to about 40%.  I then apply Blue Diamond compound to the entire pipe. To remove compound dust from the surface, I buff the pipe with a flannel rag.  I then mount another cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel, remaining at the same speed, and apply carnauba wax to the entire pipe – stummel and stem.  Completing this, I give the pipe a good hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.  Yet, one more task and this Mastersen Burl Briar Freehand will be completed.  To protect the upper chamber patch and to introduce a starter for the development of a cake to protect the briar surface, I mix a batch of sour cream, or in this case, natural yogurt, and activated charcoal to spread on the chamber walls.  I don’t mix too much sour cream, so the mixture isn’t too liquid and runny.  I insert a pipe cleaner through the draft hole to keep the airway open.  After spreading the mixture over the chamber with a flat dental spatula, I set it aside allowing the charcoal/yogurt mixture to cure and harden.  With this chamber surface, the new steward should not scrape the chamber after use, but use a doubled over pipe cleaner to ‘rub’ the chamber walls to remove ash and remains until a cake develops.   The pictures show this final task.Wow!  This Mastersen Burl Briar Freehand – Made in France is a keeper!  I’m pleased with the presentation of the plateau and the blending of the natural and darkened briar hues.  The flame grain is beautiful as it encompasses the conical Freehand stummel.  As a smaller Freehand, it is light enough to function easily as a ‘hands free’ pipe which is nice – but please use a rubber bite guard! This Mastersen caught Paul’s eye and since he commissioned it, he has the first opportunity to acquire the Mastersen Freehand from The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered by a Mastersen

Robert M. Boughton
Member, International Society of Codgers
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Member, Facebook Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society
http://www.roadrunnerpipes21.biz (under construction)
Photos © the Author except as noted

I’m wild again, beguiled again
a simpering, whimpering child again
bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
I couldn’t sleep and wouldn’t sleep
when love came and told me, I shouldn’t sleep
bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
— “Bewitched (Bothered and Bewildered,” 1940), lyrics by Lorenz Hart (1895-1943), music by Richard Rodgers (1902-1979), a great American musical team

Since the song “Bewitched” was introduced by Vivienne Segal in the 1940 Broadway musical “Pal Joey,” there have been many covers. Written for a woman, quite a few have made it “their” song, from Ella Fitzgerald to Lady Gaga. Men have taken their shots, also, from Frank Sinatra to Rod Stewart. But when I was a teenager, I had the enduring privilege of seeing Lena Horne at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and she did it, as the Chairman of the Board would say, her way. She sang some parts like a choir mistress in Heaven and spoke others in the husky asides of a barfly, keeping the audience enthralled and on the befuddling edge of tears and laughter. And so to hear the song in my mind is to relive the gruff silkiness of the lady’s inimitable voice.

My mother has always been a devotee of Freudian psychology. Being more agnostic regarding the Austrian neurologist who pioneered psychotherapy, my father tended toward dismissing all of the man’s work despite the lasting innovations. Therefore, in general, I began to take my mother’s view of the matter, until I was older and found a balance between my parents that they, alas, did not.

Now, bear with me, there’s a point coming. My dad told me one day that the songs people whistle or hum, without even thinking about it, reveal their subconscious moods. He was in the frequent habit of popping out such tidbits of knowledge, and for that I am forever grateful. I realized I had stopped listening to anything else he said maybe a half-hour earlier, having dissociated deep into myself, as far away from my dad as I could get. In fact, at least on a conscious level, I forgot my dad was there until he made the casual comment, and I stopped humming. I had to stop everything, including the gardening and general cleanup work we were doing on the patio, to figure out what was the tune, and I still remember now: “Cat’s in the Cradle,” by the late great Harry Chapin.

That’s right, I was humming about a father and son who never take the time to sit down together and have serious talks. I was not aware I even knew the story of the lyrics that well, but liked the tune. My dad and I had both heard it countless times, no doubt, as the spring afternoon I’m describing was in 1978, when I was 16, and the song came out in 1974 and won the Grammy for Best Male Pop Performance. Snatches of the words came to me: “I’m gonna be like you, Dad, you know I’m gonna be like you,” and “But we’ll get together then, you know we’ll have a good time then,” and “He’d grown up just like me, my boy was just like me.” The smirk on my dad’s face, with its annoying and condescending twist of the lips, said everything. He knew he had figured me out at last, although not his own contribution, and he was right, so I grinned, my own expression of false pride I learned from my father. I could see it stung my dad, and I’m now sad to say I was happy.

Thinking back on that encounter with my dad, as I began to find my own twisted path in the world, I consider it odd that he so berated basic Freudian theory of deep subconscious conflicts influencing our conscious actions. After all, humming a Harry Chapin tune that summed up my subconscious feelings at the time seems to me nothing less than proof of a simple variation on what we still refer to as a Freudian slip. Had my conscious mind picked the song, it would have been “”Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” by Bob Dylan.

As I began work on this ornery, perplexing pipe 16 days ago, and continuing through to its completion, I found that I was humming the refrain from “Bewitched.” Sometimes I even broke out into the repetition of words that came back to me. And so I understood I was making a musical Freudian slip of sorts. The Mastersen freehand had many flaws to overcome, and I was indeed bewitched, bothered and bewildered at the challenge of removing them. I had also come to love the pipe without ever having tried it and, like the story of “Bewitched,” despite its presenting difficulties.mas1 mas2 mas3 mas4So blackened and grungy was its bowl, so almost thorough the filling of the chamber with cake, so worn and grimy the shank, and so ruined the once typical Danish freehand plateau style rim as well as the reparable-but-not-worth-the-work bit, I did not even know what brand of pipe I had.

That is, until a happy coincidence that occurred at the monthly Moose Lodge meeting of my pipe club on the third Thursday of last month, August 18. One of my fellow pipers, Daryl (for whom I cleaned up an antique KB&B Redmanol socket pipe not long ago), showed me a beautiful Mastersen of which I snapped a photo with my Nikon. Due to the increasing instability of that camera, which is cheaper to replace than repair, the photo is nowhere to be found. At any rate, I handed my dingy and as yet unknown pipe to Daryl, who said, “Ah, another Mastersen!”

That was how I learned what I had. I ask you, what are the odds? Bestowed with a vision of the potential for a real beauty if restored with the necessary attention and care, I experienced a sudden sense of urgency to fast-track my Mastersen. I still did not even know how it was spelled, thinking it was the same as Bat Masterson, the famous TV dandy, gambler and lawman played by Gene Barry, who preferred his wits and cane to his gun for four seasons from 1958-1961. The same error by other pipe collectors and sellers accounts for the reason more examples can be found online using the spelling of Bat’s last name.

I did, however, pick up a few pieces of information along the way about Mastersen pipes. According to pipephil.com, and suggesting the brand is still in production, “Mastersen is [emphasis added] a brand of the former Shalom Pipe Co. [of Israel] which was later bought by Mastercraft.” Mastercraft, in turn, was taken over by Lane Ltd. A contributor to the Dr. Grabow Collector’s Forum (DGCF) noted the Shalom connection but added that Mastersen pipes were manufactured from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s as redemptions for Brown and Williamson’s Sir Walter Raleigh tobaccos. In this case, I suspect Pipephil was correct but meant to make clear that Mastersen was made by Shalom only, and the DGCF man had it right about the time period and redemption points.

Here are two shots of Mastersens I found online, the first with nice vertical grain, and the second showing the plateau rim type natural to the brand’s freehand pipes. Neither is anywhere near the quality of the specimen Daryl is so lucky to own, with its exquisite, perfect, vertical grain and strawberry blonde shade.mas5RESTORATION
Daryl’s beautiful example of what a Mastersen freehand could look like served as a wondrous counter-spell to the initial bewitchment that froze my thoughts of starting the job. Still, I was bothered by the apparent lack of any plateau remaining on the rim and the resulting need to do something about that dilemma. And of course the stem bewildered me more than a bit. (Ha-ha.)

Setting the bit aside for the time being, I began my assault on the stummel by soaking it in Everclear and then giving the still-caked chamber a 40-minute preliminary reaming, as that single good, long one proved insufficient to mend the old ways of the small space. The next pictures show before, during and after. mas6 mas7 mas8I continued the corrective measures with both my Senior Reamer and a new “one size fits all” type I found online. The little thing was so inexpensive I couldn’t help getting one to see if it worked. I have to say it has its uses, which are limited, but this chamber of horrors was one of them. I suppose the best way to describe the only function I’ve found for the less powerful reamer is by comparison to micro meshing after sanding. The small reamer has a certain precision that smooths away some of the rough edges left by its Senior counterpart. Maybe for those of you who have seen real combat on the battlefield, it would be like sending in the Army Corps of Engineers to clean up the devastating work of Marines.

The reaming complete, I turned to sandpaper, first on the rim and chamber with 150-grit, then working up the fine line to 180, 220 and 320.mas9I used the same progression of paper, minus the 150-grit, on the bowl and shank. That was enough for the first night.mas10 mas11 mas12The next day, Saturday, I slept late, meaning 9 or so in the morning, for the only time my cerebral RAM can access. I arose in an excellent mood made better by starting my first giant mug of strong, rich French Market coffee mellowed with chicory. Since I was in such a clear, positive frame of mind, I savored the moment more by turning to the bit that was wrecked by the havoc of some poor soul who must have suffered from a sort of waking temporomandibular joint disorder, even though there is no such malady since the real thing occurs while one sleeps. It’s called everyday teeth grinding when one is cognizant, and if a pipe smoker is that angry he ought to give up the best known form of relief from stress altogether. I ran a couple of cleaners through the air hole, first a dry run and then soaked with Everclear, and used the last of my supply of OxiClean to give the bit a bath. And now I’m gonna show you some 8×10 color glossies of that ordeal. You see, I was still of the mind that I might take the time to salvage the heinous wound to the mouthpiece of this bit.mas13 mas14 mas15 mas16By this time I already knew I was going to find a replacement somewhere, but once I start something I have to see it through. Therefore, I used more of the fine steel wool and then micro meshed from 1500-12000, just for the sake of it. Be all you can be (for now), mighty bit!mas17 mas18I did find a replacement in a bag from my recent move to better digs that I’ll show you later, because I’m sick of the entire idea of bits for now and it’s out of order, and I did keep the original for some unknown pipe I will restore for my own use rather than to sell to a trusting and hapless buyer.

Grabbing the steel wool again, I put it to better use on the stummel, with gentle rubbing.mas19 mas20 mas21Lo! How a simple micro mesh progression from 1500-12000 will change the hue of briar!mas22 mas23 mas24Three days almost to the hour after I began this project, there was no more putting off the inevitable: doing something to make the rim rough rather than the usual desired velvety smooth. Part of me that had no trouble adapting to the rule “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” one of my dad’s many maxims, hated the notion of touching a rim that was “perfect” the way it was.

In the end, I knew that a smooth rim on a Danish freehand style pipe was anything but perfect, and I considered my options, which seemed to me to number three. 1) I could rusticate the circular top, but the Mastersen freehand is not a rustic pipe. 2) I could reshape the top and try to roughen it up, but I’ve never done that before, to be honest. 3) I could leave it flat but give it some sort of texture.

The last choice seemed the best way to go, and that’s what I did. Starting out with a couple of level but tentative strokes of a wood file, I succeeded in making the following beginning, which I later gave more depth. mas25I came across a surprising number of other Mastersen freehand restorations, and two of them recounted the same obliteration of the rim and chamber stuffed with carbon char. The common rim problem suggests to me a straight, shallow plateau that lends itself to being burned away by the average pipe enjoyer. I don’t know what to make of the mystery of the overflowing chambers. The two reviews of these pipes’ level of smoking quality are very high, one coming from a regular participant in an online pipe forum and the other from my friend Daryl. Given my run on inexplicable coincidences, maybe both Mastersens were smoked close to death by the same perp.

But on with the restore I must go. The beautiful briar needed a light stain, and I didn’t want to overdo that part of the task. The only problem was that I wanted the bowl to be a tad darker than the shank, and the darker stain I had was very dark, Lincoln Marine Cordovan (deep maroon) alcohol-based leather conditioner. Taking a wild chance, I used that on the bowl and rim and Fiebing’s Brown on the shank. I was surer than the first people to test the A-Bomb were with the risk they took that I could remove enough of the excess darkness from the bowl without scratching it. The scheme still must sound plain crazy. Anyway, after flaming out the alcohol with a Bic, I set it aside for 10 minutes. mas26 mas27The father of my best friend in high school used to wake up or snap out of a reverie, stretch, yawn and say, “Well, hell!” Those are the words that came to my very conscious mind as I chose 500-grit paper to begin eliminating the ash-like residue and over-darkness from the stain. mas29I applied Halcyon II wax and let it sit for 20 minutes before rubbing the stummel with the same soft cotton cloth shown above.mas30The next photos don’t quite show the subtle difference, but it is there, as I think the final shots will reveal. I was almost done, I thought. All that was left with the stummel was to make the color still lighter. Using the finest third of my micro mesh pads, I gave it a strong buff with 4000, 8000 and 12000, and even then resorted once more to the super fine steel wool. My rim work is clear here.mas31 mas32The stummel finished, I looked for the bit and remembered I had not yet built up the tenon that was too narrow to fit the Mastersen shank. With other more pressing business to tend, I did not begin that stage for another two days. When the other matters were caught up for the time being, I considered the discolored replacement bit and gave it an OxiClean bath with a scoopful from a new tub of the powdered detergent and bleach and removed the resulting crud that was leeched out of the Vulcanite/Ebonite with 320- and 220-grit paper. I also buffed with the full range of micro mesh. As a point of interest, did you know if you Google Ebonite, almost all of the links are to bowling balls? It seems that is now the primary material for the balls used by serious participants in that sport, as it can be given color. mas33 mas34I started the process of building up the tenon with Black Super Glue. This part took several more days. After the first layer, I added fine scrapings of Vulcanite from an old bit thrashed beyond hope of repair.mas35 mas36 mas37 mas38At last the two pieces of the puzzle fit together, and I connected them.mas39 mas40 mas41 mas42 mas43 mas44 mas45 mas46CONCLUSION
Although the grain does not have the same uniform, vertical tightness and the color is not as light as I hoped to achieve, I can say without hesitation the task was worth every bit of bewitchment, bother and bewilderment I encountered. But this seems like the perfect way to celebrate Labor Day, although this was a labor of love, not work.

But in all honesty I should add that Daryl’s recent fine acquisitions are beginning to get on my nerves.