Tag Archives: Minimizing burn damage on a pipe rim and shank

My Methods for Reworking a Bowl, Rim Top and Edges


Blog by Steve Laug

I thought it might be worth taking time to talk about my methods of cleaning and restoring a rim top and edges of the bowl. I will address the process in the blog below by starting with the least intrusive method and work my way through the options and conclude with the most intrusive. I think if you were to just read the blogs you would default to topping a bowl and beveling a rim edge to deal with damage while there are actually several other options available to you. Obviously, some of the bowls that I have to deal with have a lot of rim top and edge damage so those restorations go into quite a bit of detail on that process. So if you are ready and interested let’s work through the process together.

1. I begin with the least intrusive method for smooth rim tops. For all intents and purposes this really is a cleaning and reconditioning process.

  • Ream the bowl and clean it up while carefully paying attention to the rim edges. You do not want to add damage to the shape of the bowl or edges by the reaming. I use a PipNet pipe reamer with four different cutting heads to fit a variety of bowls. I touch up that cleaning with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.
  • Carefully scrape off the thick lava coat on the rim top and edges with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife. I work to get the thick coating off as gently as possible with the knife.
  • Scrub the rim top and edges using Murphy’s Oil Soap (undiluted) and a Scotch Brite pad. It works well to remove buildup on the top without scratching the rim top. I use it to also scrub the inner edge of the rim to carefully remove the darkening and build up there. The goal is to keep the rim as round as possible and still smooth out the edge.
  • Scrub the entire bowl with the Murphy’s Oil Soap (undiluted) and a tooth brush to remove any residual grime on the bowl, rim top and edges.
  • Rinse bowl exterior and top with warm water to remove residue left behind by the soap and scrubbing.
  • Dry the bowl off and check for residue on the rim top and edges. Repeat to take care of those spots as necessary. Don’t worry too much about the lightening of the stain on the rim top at this point. We just want it clean.
  • If the stain has lightened considerably from the cleaning, buff the rim top to make sure the polishing does not bring the briar to match. If not, it can be restained to match the rest of the bowl using stain pens that are available on line.

2. We will look at modifications to the above procedure to arrive at the least intrusive method for plateau/sandblast/rusticated rim tops. Again, for all intents and purposes this is a deep cleaning process of the surfaces as described.

    • Ream the bowl and clean it up while carefully paying attention to the rim edges. You do not want to add damage to the shape of the bowl or edges by the reaming. I use a PipNet pipe reamer with four different cutting heads to fit a variety of bowls. I touch up that cleaning with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.
    • Carefully work over the rim top with a brass bristle brush (brass bristle brushes are much softer than a regular wire brush and do not do damage to the finish. These are available at most Walmart stores or small auto parts stores and are used for cleaning.) I use the brush dry and carefully work over the rim top with the goal of removing the thickest and most pervasive lava. Once it is finished the finish begins to take on its original appearance.
    • Scrub the rim top and edges using Murphy’s Oil Soap (undiluted) and a Scotch Brite pad. It works well to remove the remaining buildup on the top without damaging the plateau/sand blast/rusticated finish on the rim top. I use it to also scrub the inner edge of the rim to carefully remove the darkening and build up there. The goal is to keep the rim as round as possible and still smooth out the edge.
    • Scrub the entire bowl with the Murphy’s Oil Soap (undiluted) and a tooth brush to remove any residual grime on the bowl and rim top and edges.
    • Rinse bowl exterior and top with warm water to remove residue left behind by the soap and scrubbing.
    • Dry the bowl off and check for residue on the rim top and edges. Repeat to take care of those spots as necessary. Don’t worry too much about the lightening of the stain on the rim top at this point. We just want it clean.
    • If the stain has lightened considerably from the cleaning different procedures are used for the various surfaces.

a) Plateau surfaces if lightened generally will come back alive with polishing. I tend to stain the crevices in the plateau with a black Sharpie Pen to give some contrast to the rim top when polished. I will also often use the pen to colour the inner edge of the bowl.
b) Sandblast surfaces – I have found that a good buff will often bring this back to match the bowl. If not, it can be restained. I work to find a match the rest of the bowl with a variety of stain pens are available. These can be purchase online or at hardware stores.
c) Rusticated surfaces – Buff the surface to see what the finish looks like after buffing. It may well match the rest of the bowl with just that work. If not you can restain it in the same manner as the sandblast surfaces.

If the rim top and edges look good at this point proceed as usual to buff and wax them with the rest of the bowl.

3. Let’s move on to moderate intrusion when the above procedures do not work to address the issues on a smooth rim top and there is still damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The process below carries on from where you left off above in 1.

  • The rim top has been cleaned and the edges cleaned as noted above. The inner edge of the bowl is out of round and has darkening and burn damage that remains.
  • I use a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a slight bevel and remove the damage from burning or nicks. The angle of the bevel varies depending on the depth of the damage, as the idea is to minimize it and bring the bowl back to round.
  • Sometimes that is all it takes -sand a slight bevel and bring the bowl back to round and clean up the edges.
  • Sometimes you have to decide how far to go – a bevel generally covers a lot of issues in shaping the edges of the bowl.
  • Polish the sanded rim edge with micromesh sanding pads to smooth it out.
  • Reclean the bowl and edge with a clean cloth. If the edge matches the rest of the bowl you are finished and can buff and wax the pipe.
  • If they do not blend in then use a stain pen and match the stain as much as possible to the rim top and bowl. Then buff, wax and polish on the wheel.

4. Let’s move on to moderate intrusion when the above procedures do not work to address the issues on a plateau/sandblast/rusticated rim top and there is still damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The process below carries on from where you left off in 2 above .

  • The rim top has been cleaned and the edges cleaned as noted above. The inner edge of the bowl is out of round and has darkening and burn damage that remains.
  • I use a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to bevel the rim edge inward and remove the damage from burning or nicks. The angle of the bevel varies depending on the depth of the damage and the overall structure of the bowl. The idea is to minimize the damage and bring the bowl back to round.
  • Sometimes that is all it takes – sand a slight bevel and bring the bowl back to round and clean up the edges.
  • Sometimes you have to decide how far to go – a bevel generally covers a lot of issues in shaping the edges of the bowl.
  • Polish the sanded rim edge with micromesh sanding pads to smooth it out. Remember on all three of these types of finishes a smooth inward bevel can add a real touch of finesse to the rim top that is stunning.
  • Reclean the bowl and edge with a clean cloth. If the edge matches the rest of the bowl you are finished and can buff and wax the pipe.
  • If they do not blend in then use a stain pen and match the stain as much as possible to the rim top and bowl. Then buff, wax and polish on the wheel.

If the rim top and edges look good at this point proceed as usual to buff and wax them with the rest of the bowl. If the damage is even more extensive than originally thought after proceeding through the steps and procedures above then more intrusive measures will be required to bring the bowl back to round and the rim top to undamaged condition. Once again, how far you go with this process depends on choices that only you can make. As a general rule I will not change the visual profile of the pipe regardless of the work I do and that sets the limits for the degree of work I will do.

5. Let’s move on to the most intrusive methods when the above procedures do not work to address the issues on a smooth rim top and there is still damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The process below carries on from where you left off above in 1 and 3.

  • On a smooth rim top where there is damage to the top itself as well as the inner and outer edges several methods are available to try.
  • If you have cleaned up the edges already and the top has burn damage or is dented and nicked the first step is to steam out the dents with a damp cloth and a hot knife or small steam iron. I wet the cloth and lay it on top of the dent then apply the heat source that generates steam and lifts the dents. I repeat until the surface is smooth. That leaves the burn marks to address.
  • If the steaming has left behind damage that could not addressed using the method then it is time to move forward. If the damage is on the inner edge of the bowl then I generally use a wooden ball or darning egg wrapped with a piece of sandpaper (220 grit) to give the inner edge more of a bevel (deeper bevel) to accommodate the damage and minimize it. (both the bevel and the following topping will minimize burn damage).
  • If the damage is to the rim top itself then I use a topping board and 220 grit sandpaper to top the bowl and carefully remove the damaged part. Topping does not have to be too deep or drastic. I always proceed slowly checking often to see if the surface is smoothing out. Remember it is easier to remove than to put wood back. 😉
  • If all is done and you still feel the burn damage is too intrusive you can make a wash of oxalic acid and warm water and use a cotton pad or paper towel to apply it to the burn damaged area. Repeat until you are convinced that no more damage can be removed.
  • When finished smoothing out the rim top polish it and the edges with micromesh sanding pads (1500-12000 grit pads). You can either wet sand or dry sand. As you polish the rim top it should begin to shine. That may be enough if it matches the bowl sides and you can buff and wax it.
  • If it does not match then you will need to restain the rim top and edges to match the rest of the bowl. This can be down with an aniline based stain like Feibings or even with the small Stain Pens I have referred to above.
  • Buff the bowl and rim with a buffer and a polish like Blue Diamond and then generously wax the briar with carnauba wax and buff with a clean buffing pad.
  • At this point the rim top will likely look very good and match the bowl well. The damage from burn marks or nicks and dents will have disappeared and the edges will look like they were meant to be as they are now.

6. Let’s move on to the most intrusive methods when the above procedures do not work to address the issues on a plateau, sandblast or rusticated rim top and there is still damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The process below carries on from where you left off above in 2 and 4. Each of these take slight variations to accommodate the finish.

When the damage on a plateau rim top is beyond the work listed above in sections 2 and 4. If the damage is on the plateau top itself then I proceed as follows.

  • I used the brass bristle wire brush more aggressively than I did in previous sections above to remove all of the loose char and burn damage on the plateau itself. Once all is removed I wipe it down with a damp cloth.
  • I wipe down the damaged area with a mix of oxalic acid and water on cotton swabs and pads to get deeply in the grooves. I repeat until I am not getting any coloration on the cotton pads. I wipe it off with a damp cloth.
  • I work over the inner edge with 220 git sandpaper again to remove the damage that remains and reshape it. I stain it at the same time as the plateau.
  • Generally a plateau rim is darker than the bowl colour so it can be safely stained with a black or a dark brown stain. That will take care of most of the damage on the top of the bowl.
  • Buff and wax rim top and edges with a buffing pad and Blue Diamond and then coat generously with carnauba wax. Buff the top with a clean buffing pad to deepen the shine.

When the damage on the rusticated rim top remains after the work in sections 2 and 4 above.

  • I used the brass bristle brush more aggressively than I did previously above to remove as much of the loose char as possible. If that does not make better then and even more aggressive fix is needed.
  • I top the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and even out the rim top. Sometimes it takes removing all of the rustication but sometimes it does not. Once I have it cleaned up I wipe it down with alcohol to remove the sanding dust.
  • I even out the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I wipe it down with alcohol.
  • I use a Dremel and burrs to replicate the rustication pattern from the bowl sides on the rim top. I used several burrs – ball, cone and cylinder to work over the rim top to match the previous rustication. When I am happy with it I use a brass bristle wire brush to knock of the high spots and any loose debris.
  • I restain the rim top with a stain pen to match the bowl. Sometimes I darken the inner edge with a black stain pen.
  • Buff and wax rim top and edges with a buffing pad and Blue Diamond and then coat generously with carnauba wax. Buff the top with a clean buffing pad to deepen the shine.

When the damage on the sandblast rim top remains after the work in sections 2 and 4 above.

  • I used the brass bristle brush more aggressively than I did previously above to remove as much of the loose char as possible. If that does not make better then and even more aggressive fix is needed.
  • I top the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and even out the rim top as I do with the rusticated rim top. Sometimes it takes removing all of the sandblast but sometimes it does not. Once I have it cleaned up I wipe it down with alcohol to remove the sanding dust.
  • I even out the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I wipe it down with alcohol.
  • I use a Dremel and burrs to replicate the sandblast pattern from the bowl sides on the rim top. I used several burrs – ball, cone and cylinder to work over the rim top to match the previous blast. I use smaller burrs and work to keep the pattern close and tight like a sandblast. When I am happy with it I use a brass bristle wire brush to knock of the high spots and any loose debris.
  • I restain the rim top with a stain pen to match the bowl. Sometimes I darken the inner edge with a black stain pen.
  • Buff and wax rim top and edges with a buffing pad and Blue Diamond and then coat generously with carnauba wax. Buff the top with a clean buffing pad to deepen the shine.

That is the process I generally follow. As with any restoration, refurbishing you have to make a decision how far you want to go. My goal is to minimize the damage without changing the bowl profile or shape. I want the pipe to still retain the marks of its maker not me. Have fun in the process.

 

Breathing Life into a Kaywoodie Super Grain 50 Chubby Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from one of our pipe hunts or a trade I just cannot remember. It is a very nice Kaywoodie Super Grain Chubby Apple with a threaded tenon stem. The finish is quite nice with a classic Kaywoodie smooth finish. There are burn marks around the right side of the bowl at the rim as well as some serious damage on the right side of the shank that hides the shape number quite a bit. The pipe was pretty clean other than the burn damage on the bowl. The bowl had been reamed somewhere along the way and the bowl was pretty clean. There was darkening on the rim top and a bit of damage on the inner edge of the rim. The pipe is stamped on the sides of the shank and reads Super Grain [over] Kaywoodie on the left side of the shank. On the right side it reads Imported Briar [over] the shape number and what appears 50. The stamping is faint but readable on the pipe. The stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. There were light tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button on both sides and some on the surface of the button as well. There was the Kaywoodie White Club/Clover logo on the left side of the taper stem. The stinger apparatus is a four hole one that dates it as an older one. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he worked on it. Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started the cleanup work. The bowl has a light cake and the burn marks on the top and right side of the bowl. The inside edge of the rim was damaged on the right inner edge of the wall. The stem is deeply oxidized, calcified and dirty and there is tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem ahead of the button.   Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. There is some nice grain on the piece of briar.The stamping on the sides of the shank read as noted above. The photos show that they are very faint but readable. The burn mark on the right side of the shank is also very visible. The Clover/Club on the left side of the stem is in good condition. The two digit shape number and the threaded 4 hole stinger gave a hint about the age of the pipe but I wanted to know a bit more. I turned first to Pipephil’s site as it is always a quick sources of information (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-kaywoodie-2.html). I have included a screen capture of the section on the Super Grain Below.Up until the late 1940’s/early 50’s, the logo was on top of the stem. After that the logo was moved to the side of the stem (exceptions exist). The one I am working on has the white cloverleaf logo on the left side making the pipe a post early 1950’s. The 4 Hole stinger also fits this time period.

From that section I learned that indeed the pipe was older because of the stamping, Super Grain over Kaywoodie. I could narrow it down because it also included the Imported Briar stamp which was added in 1935. The cloverleaf logo on the left side of the stem also moved the date forward to the early 1950’s. I also knew that 4 hole stingers occurred on pipes in the 60’s. So it appears that the pipe came out between the early 50s to the 1960s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. When the pipe arrived and I unpacked it the stem was broken off at the end. There was about a ¼ inch of the stem and the entire button was in the bottom of the bag that the pipe was packed in. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl show the burn damage on the top an front of the bowl. There is damage to the inner edge of the bowl and bowl is slightly out of round.  The stem surface looked very good with tooth marks and chatter on the top side and the underside near the button.      The stamping on the sides of the shank is faint but readable. It reads as noted above. You can also see the burn mark in the briar on the  right side of the shank.      I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.  The four hole stinger is in excellent condition.I started my work on the pipe by topping  the bowl on a topping board to remove the damage to the rim top. It also helped to minimize some of the damage to the inner edge. I cleaned the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. Once I had it cleaned up the rim top damage was minimized. I also worked on the shank side burn damage and was able to remove some of the damage but the burn mark was quite deep. When working with burn marks you have to make a decision how far to go with the sanding. In this case too much sanding would have changed the profile of the pipe so I worked to minimize it rather than remove it. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each pad. The briar began to take on a rich glow.  I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips into the briar. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10-15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was in good condition and I would be able to polish out the tooth chatter. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.    This Super Grain Kaywoodie 50 Chubby Apple is a great looking pipe. The smooth finish and brown stain around the bowl sides and shank make the grain just pop. Even the burn mark on the right side of the shank while present does not detract from the beauty of the pipe. The finish on the pipe looks great and the brown stains work well to give some contrast to the polished black vulcanite taper stem. The pipe is really quite eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel, carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Chubby Apple Super Grain is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe was 43g/1.52oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another interesting pipe. This Super Grain Kaywoodie will be added to the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.