Tag Archives: New Old Stock or NOS C.P.F. French Briar

A Rare Find – an Unsmoked CPF (Colossus Pipe Factory) Diamond Shank Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is another interesting piece of pipe history that comes from the bag of old unsmoked and lightly smoked pipes that I have been working on intermittently. It is an interesting diamond shank Bent Billiard. The bowl is NOS and unsmoked. The stem is made of a yellow material that appears to be Amber but is not. On examination you can see casting marks on the shank end when the stem is removed. It has a threaded bone tenon and is in really good shape. There is a nickel band on the shank that is corroded and torn from all the shuffling that it went through in its long life.A short description would be that it is an unsmoked

A short description would be that it is an unsmoked Diamond Shank Bent Billiard with a nickel band and an Amberoid stem that is connected to the shank with a bone tenon. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads C.P.F. in an oval with the word French arced above the oval and Briar arced below the oval. I have a collection of C.P.F. pipes here that I have worked to build up over the years in all different sizes and shapes as well as a variety of materials. This is a NOS/ unsmoked pipe that will fit well into that collection. I wrote a blog a few years ago on the brand that gives a clear history and defines the meaning of the C.P.F. stamp. Here is the link to the blog and a pertinent quote that I am including below.

(https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/).

From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the C.P.F. logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB & B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older CPF pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. CPF made beautiful pipes. I believe Sam Goldberger was correct in his assertion of the potential carvers that made the pipes being of European training and the classic shapes and well aged briar. That coincides with all the CPF pipes that I have come across.

This unsmoked C.P.F. is a real beauty. The rim top is clean but dusty and the finish obscures the grain that is on the bowl and shank. The gold stamping is clear and readable. The nickel band is corroded and does not have any marking. The stem is Amberoid (an early acrylic that was made to look like amber). There is some nicks and chipping in the surface but no tooth marks. It has an orific button (round airhole) on the end of the button. I took some photos of the pipe to show the condition when we received it. It was dusty, dirty and had some grime worked into the surface of the briar from sitting unused in someone’s collection.   I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top and the stem to show their condition. You can see the drilling is centered in the bottom of the bowl You can also see the clean briar of the bowl sides. There appears to be a small flaw on the rim top on the left inner edge. The stem looks very good. You can also see the heavy corrosion on the nickel shank band.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see (even with the slightly out of focus photo) that it is clear and readable.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beautiful proportions of this nice little pipe. I think it will be quite stunning once it is restored.I removed the corroded band from the shank and wiped down the bowl with isopropyl alcohol to remove the old varnish coat. I repeated the process until it was removed and I could clearly see the grain around the bowl and shank. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad to check and make sure there was progress. By the end the bowl was taking on a natural shine and the grain really stood out. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. Now it was time to deal with the band/ferrule. I cleaned off some of the oxidation and corrosion. It was badly pitted so it needed to be replaced. I had an interesting lacy looking nickel band that would work. It was the same size to I decided to give a try. I liked what I sawI glued it in place on the shank with an all purpose white glue. I cleaned off the excess with a cotton swab and water. I took photos of the newly banded shank. I liked the look of it a lot. I polished out the scratches in the surface of the Amberoid with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. The more I polished the stem the more I could smell the acrylic like odor of the stem material. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. It is an interesting piece of Amberoid in that it seems to have bubbles in the material along the edges. I really enjoyed refurbishing this old C.P.F. French Briar Bent Billiard because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the bowl and stem back together to have a look at the whole with the newly fit band on the shank. I carefully buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the lacy shank band and the golden Amberoid stem. This richly finished Bent Billiard is light weight and it is clean and ready load up with my favourite tobacco (if I decide to smoke this 100+ year old unsmoked pipe). Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, Its measurements are Length: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 34 grams/1.20oz. This is one will be joining other C.P.F. pipes in my personal collection of the brand as it is a unique addition. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Cleaning up a NOS Unsmoked C.P.F. French Briar Rhodesian with a horn stem


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the great packages I brought back from my trip to Idaho was a small bag of C.P.F. pipes smoked and unsmoked. Some have horn stems; some have gutta percha bases and stems. I went through the bag and chose the next pipe I wanted to work on. It was an unsmoked C.P.F. French Briar Straight Rhodesian with a decorative bead between the twin rings separating the bowl from the cap. The finish had a coat of varnish or possibly shellac over it so it had a spotty shiny look to it. The top of the shank is stamped with gold leaf and reads C.P.F. in the oval logo with French arched over the top of the logo and Briar arched underneath. The bowl was unsmoked but still had a lot of dust and debris inside. It had a brass/silver band that had the typical C.P.F. faux hallmarks as well as the oval logo. The glue that held it in place had long since dried out and the band was loose. The horn stem had a few nicks in the top side but was undamaged. The threaded bone tenon was flawless and clean. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition at the start of the process. I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show the condition of the unsmoked briar. It was clean but dusty and grimy. The rim top showed some wear in the shellac coat that was on the rest of the bowl. The photos of the horn stem show its general condition. It was dull but unused so it should clean up well.The next photo shows the stamping on the shank and the band. It is clear and readable. The stamping reads as noted above. The hallmarks are the now familiar faux hallmarks that I have found on all banded C.P.F. pipes.I went back and read a previous blog that I had written on the brand to reacquaint myself. The link to the blog follows (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/). I quote a pertinent part of the blog below:

From my reading and research it seems to me that C.P.F. brand was discontinued sometime in the 1910-1920 range. Again, turning to Bill Feuerbach I found that he notes the following, which pins down the time frame of the discontinuation of the brand more specifically, “I have a C.P.F. Chesterfield in our office display that has a nametag from way before my time that says 1900 C.P.F. Chesterfield. It looks like most other Chesterfields you’ve seen, including the military type push stem, except this stem is horn and not vulcanite. As far as I have gathered the C.P.F. brand was phased out sometime around 1915.” Interestingly, he noted that the Chesterfield name and style was later introduced in the KB&B, Kaywoodie and Yello-Bole lines. He says that the 1924 KB&B catalog shows KB&B Chesterfields…

… From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the C.P.F. logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB&B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older C.P.F. pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. C.P.F. made beautiful pipes.

From that information I can definitely date the pipe to the period prior to 1884-1898 because of the single C.P.F. stamp on the shank. The horn stem, bone tenon and decorative bead on the bowl also push for that earlier date. At any rate it is an old pipe to remain unsmoked for this long. The story of its journey to Jeff and me this long after the date it was made is another mystery. This is one of those times that I wish an old pipe could speak and share the story of its journey. The most I can say is that it came from New York to Idaho Falls in journey that began in the 1880s and ended in 2019. Now it is has further traveled by air to Vancouver Canada as far west as it can go and remain on the same continent… What a well-traveled pipe and one that I will never really know the story about the nature of the journey. Armed with that information it was not time to work on the pipe.

I decided to begin with the bowl. I took the stem off the bowl and the band on the shank came off very easily. I turned it to align it and then decided to take it off to clean up the shank end before I reglued it. I wiped down the bowl with acetone on a cotton pad to break down the remaining shellac coat and remove the dried glue remnants left on the briar from the loose band.I am still experimenting with Mark Hoover’s Briar Cleaner to see what I think of it as a possible replacement for my usual Murphy’s Oil Soap scrub. I rubbed it onto the bowl and worked it into the grain of the briar. I wiped it off with a clean cloth. There was still a coat of grime and grit from the cleaner left behind so I rinsed it with warm water to remove that and dried it with a microfiber cloth. I am really not sure if this is any better than the Murphy’s but I am committed to working with it. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process. Once the shank and bowl were cleaned it was time to reglue the band. I coated the end of the shank with Weldbond white glue. I spread it on the shank with a tooth pick. I spread it around and make it even. I pressed the band into place on the shank and wiped away the excess glue that squeezed out from under the band. I wiped it down with a cotton pad and alcohol to make sure it was clean. I set it aside to let the glue cure.One of the nice features of working on a NOS pipe is that the internals are very clean. I ran a pipe cleaner through the airway in the stem and shank just to remove dust. I did the same in the mortise with a cotton swab and the internals were finished. I directed my attention to polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the dust. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with a coat of Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar – using a pipe cleaner to work it into the twin rings and the bead work. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. The old briar was dry and it drank up the balm. I buffed the bowl with a soft cloth to raise a shine. I like how the pipe looks as this point in the process. I set the bowl aside and started working on the stem. There was a small hole at the top of the stem on the face behind the bone tenon. I filled in the hole with clear super glue and set it aside. I sanded the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the scratches in the surface of the horn. I polished out the scratches with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I love these old C.P.F. pipes. There is some serious thought that they were carved by European trained craftsman who were skilled pipemakers. These pipemakers were brought to the US by the C.P.F. Company to make pipes. Many of the shapes, bands and stems have such high quality workmanship involved that I really think there is truth to this story. This is little straight shank, horn stem Rhodesian is a real beauty. There may be one small fill on the bowl cap just above the decorative bead on the right side of the bowl. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrasting grain really began to stand out; it seemed to take on life with the buffing. The rich contrasting brown colour works well with the polished striated horn stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This one will be joining my collection as it fits in the C.P.F. niche group that I have been building. The shape and feel in the hand is perfect. Now I have to make a hard decision – do I leave it unsmoked or do I load it up with some aged Virginia and break it in. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I restored and reworked this old Rhodesian from 1884-1898. It is always a treat for me to work on a piece of pipe history especially when I have learned a bit of the story behind it.