Tag Archives: Oxidation

Breathing Life into a Custom-Bilt Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us on 10/14/2017 from now closed antique shop in Pocatello, Idaho, USA. The pipe is a classic Custom-Bilt piece – a rusticated Diamond shank Rhodesian shaped pipe with some deep carving around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left underside of the shank and reads Custom-Bilt [over] Imported Briar. On the right underside of the shank it bears a carved square near the stem/shank junction. The bowl was heavily caked with a an overflow of lava on the smooth rim top toward the back and on the inner edge. The inside edges looked to be in good condition. The finish was dirty but the pipe still has a sense of charm. The stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. It had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The was a chipped area on the topside edge of the button. There were no markings or a logo on the saddle stem. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the smooth rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. The photo of the topside of the stem also shows the chipped edge of the button. Jeff took a photo of the heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. The rustication pattern around the bowl is instantly recognizable as done by Custom-Bilt. The stamping on the left underside of the shank and the right underside at the shank/stem joint is clear and readable and read as noted above.   I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c8.html) to get a quick view of the brand once again. I knew that I was working with one of the older pipes and probably made by Tracy Mincer himself. He stopped making the Custom-Bilt pipes in the early 1950s. The screen capture I included below shows a brief history of the brand. It also has a comment on the symbols stamped on the shank near the stem including the square that is stamped on this one.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:CustomBilt_Stamp1.jpg) for a quick read. The majority of the information there included two book reviews of the “Custom-Bilt Story” by Bill Unger.

The one line I culled was the following: “Tracy Mincer started the original Custom-Bilt pipes it appears in 1934”.

I did a screen capture of the stamping that matched the stamping on the pipe that I am working on. What I learned from that is that the stamp was used by Tracy Mincer in Indianapolis in the US from 1938-1946 and possibly in Chicago before 1938 as well. So now I had a possible date for this pipe. It was an old timer and it was well worth working on.Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself. 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 scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top and the inner edge had some darkening and wear that would need to be addressed. The outer edge of the bowl look very good. The stem surface looked good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The biggest issue was the chipped button on the tops side.    The stamping on left side of the shank is clear and readable. I failed to take photos of the stamping on the heel and right side but they to are clear. It is stamped as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a proportionally pleasing pipe.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and cleaning up the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to reshape the edge and to clean up the rim top. The finished rim top and edge looks better.    I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to develop a deep shine on the smooth portions of the bowl. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris.   The bowl looked good at this point so I rubbed it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I rebuilt the chipped button with black rubberized super glue. It was not a large chip and the glue would do the trick with it. I folded a pipe cleaner and greased it with Vaseline. I slipped it in place in the slot under the chipped area. I filled the chip in with the super glue. I rebuilt the inside edge using a tooth pick. I filled in the deep tooth marks with black super glue at the same time.  Once the repair cured I used a pottery trimmer blade to shape the inside of the slot. I need to do some light patching still to take care of some air bubbles in the inside edge. I also flattened the repair on the topside and shaped the button edge on both sides with a small flat file. It is starting to look very good.I sanded the button edges and the repairs on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite 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 Custom-Bilt Rhodesian is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The style of rustication that is used around the bowl is highlighted by the stain application and works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Custom-Bilt is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 40 grams/1.41 ounces. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipemakers Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Sidle Up to the Bari


by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a charming Danish pipe, likely by Bari. I say “likely” because it does not specifically name Bari on the pipe, but Steve assured me that he has seen other Bari pipes like it. He feels comfortable calling it a Bari and that is more than good enough for me. His imprimatur is worth its weight in gold!   There was only one marking on the pipe – the underside of the stummel read Made in [over] Denmark. There was no shape number or any other identifying marks.This freehand pipe is quite beautiful and many of its curves are reminiscent of ski slopes from my youth. It is a pretty pipe and feels light and comfortable in the hand.

From Pipedia, here is a very brief history of the Bari company:

Bari Piber was founded by Viggo Nielsen in Kolding around the turn of 1950-51. Viggo’s sons Kai Nielsen and Jørgen Nielsen both grew into their father’s business from a very young age and worked there till 1975. Bari had very successfully adapted the new Danish Design that had been started mainly by Stanwell for its own models. When Viggo Nielsen sold Bari in 1978 to Joh. Wilh. von Eicken GmbH in Hamburg, Bari counted 33 employees. From 1978 to 1993 Åge Bogelund and Helmer Thomsen headed Bari’s pipe production. Thomsen bought the company in 1993 re-naming it to Bari Piber Helmer Thomsen. The workshop moved to more convenient buildings in Vejen. Bari’s basic conception fundamentally stayed the same for decades: series pipes pre-worked by machines and carefully finished by hand. Thus no spectacular highgrades but solid, reliable every day’s companions.On to the pipe: it was in decent shape, but there were a few issues. The stem had a bit of oxidation and a LOT of calcification, though fortunately, very few bite marks. The stummel also had a few issues. The outside of the bowl had some dings and a couple of fills that needed to be addressed. The wood also had some stains and paint splatter. There was lava and debris on the rim, and a small burn mark. Most significantly, there was a chunk missing from around the mortise end of the shank. Some serious repair work was needed there! The stem was first on my list. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. There was so much calcification on the stem that I decided to take a blade and gently scrape it all off. You can see in the photos how much came off! I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the few bite marks and dents. This was moderately successful in raising the damage. Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It was pretty dirty and required quite a few pipe cleaners. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation on the stem. I built up the dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. Then I sanded the adhesive down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. Finally, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I first decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took the bowl down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I used a small butter knife to gently chip away at the lava on the rim and used more Murphy’s with a scrub brush to remove any remainder. This actually worked quite well. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt that blighted the wood. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was some filth inside this stummel and it took quite a bit of cotton to get it clean. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes.A de-ghosting session also seemed in order, so I thrust cotton balls into the bowl and the shank and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leach out into the cotton. Now it was time for the serious work: to fix the large gouge in the mortise, at the end of the shank. There were several problems to be addressed: to ensure that the repair was structurally sound, so it could withstand the wear and tear of the tenon going in and out; to ensure that the repair looked reasonably consonant with the surrounding wood, and to ensure that the inside of the mortise was smooth and conformed perfectly to the shape of the tenon. The repair was made with a mixture of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive. This ensures a strong repair and one that looks similar to the surrounding wood. As it turned out, I had to build up the repair more than once to achieve the results I wanted. It was fairly straightforward to sand down the flat end of the shank, but it was very difficult to ensure that the inside of the mortise matched perfectly with the tenon. Honestly, it took a bit of trial and error to get it right. I sanded the repair down with a file and 200- and 400-grit sandpaper until it was level with the surrounding briar. Having completed that, I was able to address the small nicks on the rim and the bowl. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try to raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. The repair was not perfect, but the remaining scratches would be improved by sanding. Now I could address the burn on the rim. I took some oxalic acid, used several Q-tips, and rubbed. The burn improved quite a bit. The burn was very superficial and did not affect the integrity of the wood at all.After removing the burn and checking in on the mortise repair to ensure its integrity, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the stummel to finish it off. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. This is a very elegant Danish pipe. At this point, I checked in with Steve to see what he thought of the restoration so far. He made the excellent suggestion of applying a layer of Fiebing’s Black Leather Dye to the rim and the mortise-end of the shank. After applying the dye, flaming it, and letting it set, I wiped those areas down with isopropyl alcohol to remove most of the dye. The goal here was to accentuate the grain on those particular areas of the pipe with only residual amounts of black dye. In order to further the external beauty of this pipe, I applied some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye over the entire stummel. As usual, I applied flame from a BIC lighter in order to set the colour. I then added a second coat – just to make sure. It looked so much better with a richer colour. I then used some isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the pipe and remove some excess dye. At this point, I chose to re-sand the stummel with all of the micromesh pads. I followed up with some more Before & After Restoration Balm. What a wonderful result! Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood look absolutely beautiful. In fact, it turned out so well that this pipe has already sold! I know that the new owner will enjoy smoking it for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

New Life for an Old Emperor “Limited” 192 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I am back to a few other pipes that have been here for a while. You can see from the photos that Jeff took that it is another one that has been here for a long time. We picked it up back in 2019 – I can’t believe that it is over three years ago. It is about time I got around to working on it because it is a nice one. We purchased the pipe from an online auction on 02/10/2019 in Tidioute, Pennsylvania, USA. It had an smooth brown finish with a chunky shank and stem. The stem is older style thin taper. There was a thick cake in bowl and a heavy lava coat on the rim top and the inner edge. The finish was absolutely filthy with grit and grime ground into the surface of the briar. There is a heavy dust coat on the finish but there is some nice grain showing through. The pipe is stamped on the sides of the shank. On the left side it reads Emperor [over] Imported Briar. On the right side it reads “Limited”. On the underside it has the shape number 192. The left side of the taper stem is stamped CUSTOM FINISHED. There is a fascinating stinger apparatus in the tenon. The stem surface was oxidized and dirty. It was hard rubber so the oxidation was not a heavy. It had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. I like to have an idea of how the pipe was smoked before we got it and the condition of the bowl and rim top. Jeff always takes some photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to show what it looked like. He took photos of the stem to show the condition. The stem was dirty, oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides at the button. He took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a sense of the condition of the pipe when we received it. It was filthy but there was some underlying beauty to the briar. The next photos show the stamping on the sides of the shank and the stem. It is clear and readable as noted above. The Brand was unfamiliar to me so I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what he had on the Emperor Pipe Brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-e3.html). The site had a small one line entry in the side bar that read “a brand of Empire Pipe Co.”. I also included a screen capture of the two examples of the pipes shown there. The first is a Supreme and the second is a Standard. The one that I have is different form those and is marked “Limited”.I turned to Pipedia for more information on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Emperor). I quote from the article below.

Empire Briar Pipe Company Inc. of New York produced Emperor pipes. Known at “The Pipe that knows no Peer” as their 1945 advertising promotes. That ad reads “The pipe that knows no Peer. For every Emperor pipe is a notable work of art, a masterpiece created in the custom tradition.” They are a subsidiary of the Continental Briar Pipe Co. Inc. 80 York Street, Brooklyn, New York. They had Three grades: Standard, De Luxe and Supreme.

There was a pipe illustrated in the article that was stamped the same as the one I am working on. While it was definitely in much better condition it was the same stamp. I have included a photo of the stamping on that pipe to show the parallels to the one I have on the table now.There were also some advertisements that had been provided by Doug Valitchka. The first is a from Look Magazine, 1945. The second one is from December of 1947. Both are fascinating examples of the kind of descriptions used to sell these pipes – Pipes that Know No Peers!.

1945 Ad, courtesy Doug Valitchka

December 1947 Ad, courtesy Doug Valitchka

Another piece of the puzzle for me included this description of the fascinating “cleaner” stinger that was in the tenon on the pipe. It was called a Keystone Cleaner. It reads as follows:

By twice reversing the direction of the smoke, Emperor’s exclusive Keystone cleaner gives you cooler, drier, sweeter smoking. It can be quickly and easily removed. Try it yourself. You will notice a pipe cleaner will not pass directly through it, but rather through two divergent channels, to spin the smoke clean.I knew that I was working on an American made pipe by Empire Briar Pipe Company, Inc. at 608 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York. The stem on the one I was working on was stamped CUSTOM FINISHED and had the screw in stinger pictured above. My guess is that the pipe was from the late 1940s to early 1950s judging from the shape and the material provided on Pipedia. In the last paragraph of the ad above it gives a listing of the grades beginning at Standard and moving through Deluxe, Supreme and then Limited. I was working on one of the higher grades. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. When I received it the pipe looked much better. I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge and outer edge of the bowl were in rough condition. The stem was hard rubber and it was lightly pitted. There was light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button surface. The stamping on the shank of the pipe is clear and readable as noted above. The stamping on the stem is deep and readable.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.I started my work on the pipe by dealing with the rim top and edges. I used a folded piece of 220 sandpaper to smooth out the damage on the inner and outer edge of the bowl. The outer edge still shows some damage but it is minimized. I do not want to top it as it is already a short bowl and I do not want to change the profile.I polished the smooth portions of the briar with 1500-12000 micromesh sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. The inner edge of the rim, the band on the shank end and the band round the smooth base were all polished. As I worked through the cycle of pads the shine developed with each change of pad. The pipe looks very good. 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 showed clearly. It was a beautiful piece of briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I heated the stinger with a lighter to loosen the gunk holding it in place. Once it was loose I removed it from the tenon and clean both the inside of the stem and the stinger itself. I cleaned the airway in both and the threads in both. Once it was clean I greased the threads with Vaseline and put it back in the tenon. I polished the stem and built in band 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. The photos below show the polished stem. This American Made Emperor “Limited” 192 Bent Billiard with a hard rubber stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns of the stain made the grain come alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Emperor “Limited” Bent Billiard really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.80 ounces /51 grams. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers Section. Let me know if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Beautiful Rusticated Jirsa 96 Poker/Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

I am back to a few other pipes that have been here for a long time. You can see from the photos that Jeff took that it is another one that has been here for a long time. We picked it up back in 2017 – I can’t believe that it is almost five years ago. It is about time I got around to working on it because it really is quite nice. Jeff purchased this pipe from an antique mall in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. It had an interesting rusticated brown finish with a smooth band around the base and shank end as well as a smooth heel of the bowl. There is a carved ring around the top ¼ inch of the rim top and edge as well that is a nice touch. There was a thick cake in bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner bevel. The finish was filthy with grit and grime ground into the surface of the briar. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank Jirsa [over] the shape number 96. The stem surface was oxidized and had a rotting Softee bit with a lot of awful looking sludge built up around it. The stem did not have a Jirsa logo. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. I like to have an idea of how the pipe was smoked before we got it and what the bowl and rim top looked like. Jeff always takes some photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to show what it looked like. He took photos of the stem with and without the Softee bit to show the condition. While the stem was dirty the Softee had protected it from tooth marks and chatter. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a sense of the rustication on the pipe. The next two photos show the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I did a quick scan of the rebornpipes blog and found a link to the Jirsa Octagonal Panel that I had restored (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/05/01/rebirthing-an-oldrich-jirsa-bent-octagonal-panel-138-billiard/). Rather than start over in my research on the brand I am quoting from that blog and the work I did there.

I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what he had on the Jirsa brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j2.html). He had an entry that I did a screen capture of and also the following information on the brand. Artisan: Oldrich Jirsa (born 1962) makes pipes since 1994.I turned to Pipedia for more information on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jirsa). I quote from the article below.

Jirsa is a Czech Republic brand owned by the family company headed by the artisan Oldrich Jirsa. They use Ebonite and cumberland stems. Best Grading: SG (Grain), three stars. Symbol: stylized J coming out of an oval. I knew that I was working on a Czech made pipe by Oldrich Jirsa. The stem on the one I was working on was vulcanite and was not stamped. I suppose it could be a replacement but the fit and slow makes me think it is original. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. When I received it the pipe looked very good. I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the beveled inner edge and outer edge of the bowl were in good condition. The stem was vulcanite and there was some light tooth chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stamping on the pipe is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.I polished the smooth portions of the briar with 1200-1500 micromesh sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. The inner edge of the rim, the band on the shank end and the band round the smooth base were all polished. As I worked through the cycle of pads the shine developed with each change of pad. The pipe looks very good. 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 and a horsehair shoe brush 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 on the smooth portions stood and the rustication showed depth. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem and built in band 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. The photos below show the polished stem. This Czech Rusticated Jirsa 96 Poker/Sitter with a vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns of the stain made the grain and rustication come alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Jirsa 96 Poker/Sitter really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.87 ounces /53 grams. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Pipes from Various Makers Section. Let me know if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a MALAGA Rusticated Bent Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is another interesting Malaga pipe that Jeff. This pipe was purchased off EBay on 10/29/2017 from Manteca, California, USA. It is an interesting looking rusticated bent Apple. The finish looks a lot like a Brigham. It has the classic Malaga oil cured finish and some great looking grain on the smooth rim, shank top and right side. There was a smooth band around the shank end and the rim. The pipe is stamped on right side of the shank and reads MALAGA. The shape is well done and the fit of the stem against the shank is very well done. The carver did a great job of carving the pipe to capture the grain around the smooth portions bowl and shank. The bowl had a heavy cake with an overflow of thick lava on the rim top. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils ground into the rusticated finish from prolonged use. The vulcanite stem was heavily oxidized and calcified. It had tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem near the button and on the button surface itself. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started the cleanup work. With some work it will be a real beauty. 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 thick cake and the uneven overflow of lava on the rim top is quite thick all the way around but slightly heavier toward the back. The inside edge of the rim could be damaged but it quite hidden under the lava coat. 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. He took a photo of the stamping on the right side of the shank. It read as noted above. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. There is some nice grain around the sides. You can also see the damage to the rim edges and the heel of the bowl in the photos below.   I am including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe using his usual procedure. 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 some darkening over most of the surface. There is damage to the inner edge of the bowl and bowl is 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 right side of the shank is clear and readable. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole.  I started my work on the pipe by dealing with a hard thick area of cake on the lower front of the bowl. The rest of the bowl was very clean but that area had a hard wedge of carbon that was impervious to reaming and scraping. It was thick and was a battle to remove. It is hard to capture a picture of it but you can see part of it in the photo below.  I stuffed the bowl with cotton bolls and plugged the shank. I filled the bowl with isopropyl alcohol and let it soak the carbon pack in the bowl. It sat for several hours and once I removed the cotton bolls the cake had softened some. I scraped and chipped the carbon wedge with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and was able to remove all of it. It was rough then but much cleaner. I sanded the bowl walls with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel and smoothed out the roughness. I worked over the rim top and the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I gave the inner edge a slight bevel and smoothed out the damage on the rim top.  I polished the rim top and smooth briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I also ran the pads over the high spots on the rustication as well to give some contrast.   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 and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10-15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive and the finish looked rich.     I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift them as much as possible. I filled in the remaining tooth dents and marks with Black Super Glue and set it aside for the repairs to cure.   Once they cured I flattened them with a file. I cleaned up the repaired areas with 220 sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the stem. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite 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 Malaga Rusticated Bent Apple with a vulcanite taper stem turned out to be a real beauty. The carver did a great job on the rugged rustication and the shape of the pipe. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel and the finish just popped and came alive. 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 pipe took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished Malaga Bent Apple 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: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe was 38 grams/1.34 ounces. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. It will be in the American Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!   

Breathing Life into a GBD Oxford Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from EBay on  06/11/2016 from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. The pipe is a classic newer GBD Billiard shaped pipe with a varnish coat on the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads GBD in an oval [over] OXFORD. On the right side it is stamped Made in England. The finish is quite shiny and has some nice grain highlighted by the contrast stain. The bowl was moderately caked around the first ½ inch down into the bowl then there was bare briar. It was quite clean and the inner edge looked to be in good condition. There was a small nick on the left front outer edge. The saddle stem was vulcanite and was lightly oxidized. It had a stamped GBD Oval logo that was in good condition. It is a nice looking newer GBD made by Cadogan and will make someone a great small billiard. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took a photo of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the thick lava on the smooth rim top. Though there are no photos of the top and underside of the stem it is remarkably clean and undamaged. The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above. The stamp on the stem is also quite clean. I turned to Pipephil and there was nothing listed for the Oxford model of GBD pipes. I was a little disappointed but have gotten used to that for some the newer GBDs. I have hit the wall in the search for information many times on these.

I turned then to Pipedia to see if I could find anything. On the main page there was a great summary of the history of the brand lots of information on the more known models. There was nothing there on the Oxford model.

At the bottom of the listing on Pipedia there was a link to a section on the various models so I clicked on the link (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information) and finally found something. At the bottom of the listing of models of GBD pipes there was a list of GBD seconds. I have included the some of models listed there below. I have highlighted the Oxford in red in the list below. That was the extent of information that I could find.

List of GBD “Seconds”

The lines listed below are either 2nds or lines made for other makers/pipeshops. Please send me any corrections or additional information you might have on these.

  • Matt Special — England, unknown if also made in France: “Warm Amber” on black dual tone Matt finish, “mid-priced” private label. -catalog ( 1976 ). This style was listed under “Private Brand Pipes” in the catalog which means that GBD would stamp a custom name of the pipe, often the name of a pipe shop or chain.
  • Medley — England, unknown if also made in France: “A collection of oversize Conquest and Collector shapes…varying shape selection”, varying finishs. -catalog ( 1981 )
  • Oxford — England, unknown if also made in France: –
  • Peerless — England, unknown if also made in France: –

Armed with that information I knew that I was working on a Cadogan era GBD pipe (made after 1981) I turned to work on the pipe itself.  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 scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work.   The rim top and edges of the bowl looked great. There was one small nick on the left front outer edge of the bowl but otherwise the outer edge looks good. The vulcanite stem was very clean with no tooth marks or chatter. There was some light oxidation that I would need to deal with but otherwise it was clean. The stamping on sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is another proportionally pleasing pipe.The bowl and rim looked very good so I rubbed the pipe down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I needed to remove the light oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it down with Soft Scrub and was able to clean it up significantly.   I polished the vulcanite 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 Cadogan Era GBD Oxford Vulcanite Saddle Stem Billiard is a great looking pipe. The contrasting brown and black stain on the briar highlights the grain around the bowl and shank. It works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GBD Oxford Billiard is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 32 grams/1.13 ounces.  I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipemakers Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Breathing New Life into a Weber Short Snorter Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an antique store in Bozeman, Montana, USA on 02/02/18. The pipe is a classic Oom Paul shaped pipe but almost a miniature. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Short [over] Snorter. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with the Weber oval logo. There was a lot of grime ground into the finish on the briar. The bowl was heavily caked with a thick overflow of lava on smooth rim top and inner edge of the rim. The inside and outer edges looked to be in good condition. The vulcanite saddle stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. It had tooth chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside near and on the button. It had promise but it was very dirty.  Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the thick lava on the smooth rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to give a sense of what the briar looked like. The finish was dark and through the obscuring dirtiness of the bowl you can see some nice grain peeking through. Jeff also included photos of the bowl with the stem removed showing more of the grain but also the stinger apparatus in the tenon.  The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.      The Short Snorter model from Weber was interesting. I remembered that Dal had done one earlier but I did not remember the connection to Weber. To find out information on the model I turned to Pipephil (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w2.html) and there was nothing listed for the Weber Short Snorter pipes. There were other pipes shown but not that one.

I turned then to Pipedia to see if I could find anything. There was a great summary of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Weber_Pipe_Co.). There was nothing on the Short Snorter Model that I was working on. I quote the general information below:

Carl B. Weber was a German from Bavaria. Aged 21 he emigrated to the USA in 1911. In 1938 he established Weber Briars Inc. in Jersey City, New Jersey. Later renamed in Weber Pipe Co..

The firm grew to be one of the giants of American pipe industry focusing itself in the middle price and quality zone. Trademark: “Weber” in an oval. Beside that Weber – especially in the years after 1950 – was a most important supplier for private label pipes that went to an immense number of pipe shops. Alone in New York, exactly the same pipes were found at Wilke’s, Barclay Rex, Trinity East, Joe Strano’s Northampton Tobacconist in Ridgewood, Queens, Don-Lou in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn… Nearly all pipes for Wilke were unstained and many models, for example the “Wilke Danish Bent”, could hardly deny originating of Weber.

Among other well reputed pipe makers Anthony Passante[1] worked for Weber.

Weber Pipe Co. owned and manufactured Jobey pipes – when mainly sold in the USA by the Tinder Box from 1970’s – 80’s. In addition Jobey / Weber bought Danish freehands from Karl Erik (Ottendahl). These pipes were offered as Jobey Dansk. Ottendahl discontinued exports to the United States in 1987 and in the very same year – obviously only as a ghost brand – Jobey was transferred to Saint-Claude, France to be manufactured by Butz-Choquin.

Carl B. Weber is the author of the famous book “Weber’s Guide to Pipes and Pipe Smoking”.

Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself. 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 scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top cleaned up quite well but there was a lot of darkening on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The outer edge of the bowl looks good. The vulcanite saddle stem had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stamping on sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above. I captured the stamping on the sides for the photos below. It is faint but still readable.   I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is another proportionally pleasing pipe. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the sandpits or flaws in the briar by filling them in with clear CA glue. Once they had hardened I sanded them with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the briar bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the debris.     The bowl and rim looked very good so I rubbed it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I removed the stinger from the stem to check on the cleanness of the airway. It was in good condition.I polished the vulcanite 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 Weber SHORT SNORTER Oom Paul is a great looking small pipe now that it has been restored. The brown stain on the briar highlights the grain around the bowl and shank. It works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished SHORT SNORTER Oom Paul is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 3 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 22 grams/.78 ounces.  I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipemakers Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring and Restemming a Bari Pearl 7075 with a Bamboo Shank


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I went through all the bowls that we had in boxes at his place recently. We wanted to consolidate them into one place and clean them all up. We sorted them as we went through them all. Many ended up being junk while a large number went into a box to be sent to me for restemming. One of those which caught my attention was an interesting bowl with a well coloured bamboo shank. It had a vulcanite spacer between the briar and the one knuckle piece of bamboo and another one at the shank end. It was a nice Brandy shape pipe with some great grain around the sides and shank. The bowl had been smoked and the top had some darkening and slight damage on the flat top and inner edge. The bamboo had a nice patina to it that showed that it had been someone’s favourite and had been well smoked. The shank end was smooth so a tight fit would be easy to do. It was stamped on the underside of the shank and read BARI [over] Pearl [over] Made In [over] Denmark [over] 7075 which is the shape number. Jeff had reamed and cleaned it before he sent it to me so it was in good shape when it arrived today. When I unpacked the box of bowls this one caught my eye. I wanted to restem it so I pulled it out to work on next. I took a photo of the rim top and edges to show the condition. You can see that it is damaged on the top and both edges. There is some darkening on the top and edges and there are some rough spots around the bowl top and edges. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above. It is clear and readable though faint in spots.I turned to Pipephil to see if I could find information on the Pearl model but there was nothing there on the model (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b1.html). I quote from the sidebar below and also have included a screen capture of the information.

Brand founded by Viggo Nielsen in 1950 and sold to Van Eicken Tobaccos in 1978. At this time Age Bogelund managed Bari’s production. The company has been bought in 1993 by Helmer Thomsen. Bari’s second: Don, Proctus.  I then turned to Pipedia for some history of the brand and also to see if there as information on the Pearl model (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bari). I have included the history below. There was also a photo that was done by Smoking Pipes.com and had a copy right so I did not include it. It did help me determine the kind of stem to use on the pipe.

Bari Piber was founded by Viggo Nielsen in Kolding around the turn of 1950/51. Viggo’s sons Kai Nielsen and Jørgen Nielsen both grew into their father’s business from a very young age and worked there till 1975.

Bari had very successfully adapted the new Danish Design that had been started mainly by Stanwell for it’s own models. When Viggo Nielsen sold Bari in 1978 to Joh. Wilh. von Eicken GmbH in Hamburg Bari counted 33 employees.

From 1978 to 1993 Åge Bogelund and Helmer Thomsen headed Bari’s pipe production. Thomson bought the company in 1993 re-naming it to Bari Piber Helmer Thomsen. The workshop moved to more convenient buildings in Vejen. Bogelund, who created very respectable freehands of his own during the time at Bari got lost somehow after 1993.

Bari’s basic conception fundamentally stayed the same for decades: series pipes pre-worked by machines and carefully finished by hand. Thus no spectacular highgrades but solid, reliable every day’s companions.

The most famous series are the smooth “Classic Diamond” and the blasted “Wiking”.

I did a quick Google search for the Bari Pearl pipe and found that Smokingpipes.com had quite a few different shapes of the model. It was interesting that all of them had a single knuckle like the one that I was working on and that the bamboo had been shaped and tapered on the front toward the bowl and toward the shank end. All of them had a vulcanite space on both ends of the bamboo. They were pretty pipes.

With that it was time to work on the pipe. I went through my cans of stems and found three possibilities. Two of them were short saddle stems and one was a longer taper stem. I tried all three of them and my daughters and I decided to use the tapered longer one. It is similar in shape to several of the ones I saw in the photos of the Pearl on Google.

I then turned to Pipedia for some history of the brand and also to see if there as information on the Pearl model (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bari). I have included the history below. There was also a photo that was done by Smoking Pipes.com and had a copy right so I did not include it. It did help me determine the kind of stem to use on the pipe.

Bari Piber was founded by Viggo Nielsen in Kolding around the turn of 1950/51. Viggo’s sons Kai Nielsen and Jørgen Nielsen both grew into their father’s business from a very young age and worked there till 1975.

Bari had very successfully adapted the new Danish Design that had been started mainly by Stanwell for it’s own models. When Viggo Nielsen sold Bari in 1978 to Joh. Wilh. von Eicken GmbH in Hamburg Bari counted 33 employees.

From 1978 to 1993 Åge Bogelund and Helmer Thomsen headed Bari’s pipe production. Thomson bought the company in 1993 re-naming it to Bari Piber Helmer Thomsen. The workshop moved to more convenient buildings in Vejen. Bogelund, who created very respectable freehands of his own during the time at Bari got lost somehow after 1993.

Bari’s basic conception fundamentally stayed the same for decades: series pipes pre-worked by machines and carefully finished by hand. Thus no spectacular highgrades but solid, reliable every day’s companions.

The most famous series are the smooth “Classic Diamond” and the blasted “Wiking”.

I did a quick Google search for the Bari Pearl pipe and found that Smokingpipes.com had quite a few different shapes of the model. It was interesting that all of them had a single knuckle like the one that I was working on and that the bamboo had been shaped and tapered on the front toward the bowl and toward the shank end. All of them had a vulcanite space on both ends of the bamboo. They were pretty pipes.

With that it was time to work on the pipe. I went through my cans of stems and found three possibilities. Two of them were short saddle stems and one was a longer taper stem. I tried all three of them and my daughters and I decided to use the tapered longer one. It is similar in shape to several of the ones I saw in the photos of the Pearl on Google. I lightly sanded the shank end of the stem and the tenon and fit it in the shank of the pipe. I took photos of it to give a sense of the look. The fit against the shank is very good. I reshaped the shank end to make the transition between the shank space and the stem smooth with my Dremel and a sanding drum. I need to fine tune the fit but the look is very good.I filled in some pits on the shank end and on the top of the stem surface ahead of the button using black super glue. I also filled in some damaged spots on the shank end of the stem with the glue. I flattened the repaired areas with a flat file to smooth them out and blend them into the surface. I started sanding the surface smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I heated some water in a coffee mug and dipped the stem into the boiling water to soften it. Once it was pliable I gave it a slight bend to adjust the look of the shank and stem.I had some more sanding to do at the stem shank transition and the repaired area on the topside of the stem near the button but the fit and shape of the pipe and stem was starting to look very nice. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process. I set the stem aside for awhile and turned my attention to the bowl. I worked over the rim top and edges of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper. I smoothed out the nicks on the top and edges and reshaped the inner edge. The rim top and edges looked much better at this point.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. It really took on a shine by the last three sanding pads. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar where it works to clean, restore and preserve the briar. I let it do its magic for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The pipe looks incredibly good at this point in the process. With that the bowl had come a long way from when I started working on it. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to finish removing the scratch a marks. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I continued to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil one more time. I am excited to finish the restemming and restoration of this Bari Pearl 7075 Bamboo Shank Brandy. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful mixed grain all around it. The polished grain on the pipe looks great with the black vulcanite stem. This smooth Bari Pearl Bamboo Shank Brandy is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 7 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 46 grams/ 1.62 ounces. It turned out to be a beautiful pipe. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipemakers Section soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know by email or message. Thanks for your time reading this blog and as Paresh says each time – Stay Safe.

Breathing Life into a Craftsman Custom-Made Imported Briar Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us on 04/08/2017 from an antique shop in Stevensville, Montana, USA. The pipe is a classic Custom-Bilt look to it – a rusticated Bullmoose shaped pipe with some deep carving around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Craftsman [over] Custom-Made. On the right side it is stamped Imported Briar. There was a lot of grime ground into the smooth and rusticated portions of the finish on the briar. The bowl was heavily caked with a heavy overflow of lava on smooth rim top and inner edge of the rim. The inside edges looked to be in good condition. The outer edge had some marks as well on the right front of the bowl. The stem was dirty and oxidized. There was a cotton fuzz on the saddle portion that was stuck to the vulcanite. It had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There was a remnant of a star shaped logo on the left side of the saddle stem. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the thick lava on the smooth rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took a photo of the sides and the heel of the bowl to give a sense of what the briar looked like. The rustication pattern around the bowl is similar to that done by Custom-Bilt. The stamping on the left and right side of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above.   I turned to Pipephil and Pipedia for information and there was nothing listed for this brand on either site. I found a few of them listed on Smoking Pipes site but there was not any information on the maker of the pipe. So this one is a bit of a mystery.

Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself.  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 scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The inner edge had some darkening and wear that would need to be addressed. The outer edge of the bowl looks good. The stem surface looked good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stamping on sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.    I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is another proportionally pleasing pipe. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the the darkening on the rim top and inner edge and smoothing out the roughness on the outer edge on the right front with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. Once I had finished it looked better.    I polished the smooth rim and shank top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the debris.    The bowl and rim looked very good so I rubbed it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter. I was able to raise most of the marks but a few remained on both sides. I filled them in with black super glue and set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once they had cured I used a small file to flatten them and start blending them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the vulcanite 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 Craftsman Custom-Made Bullmoose is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The style of rustication that is used around the bowl highlights the grain that pokes through on the smooth rim and shank. It works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Craftsman Custom-Made Bullmoose is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 47g/1.66oz.  I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipemakers Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Very English Looking “Malaga” Imported Briar Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is yet another Malaga pipe from boxes of pipes I have awaiting restoration in my every expanding queue. This “Malaga” Canadian has some interesting grain around the darker stained oil cured bowl and shank. The classic Canadian shape is carved to highlight the grain around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the top side of the shank. It reads “MALAGA”. On the underside it is stamped IMPORTED BRIAR. The tapered stem is vulcanite and has no marking or stamping. It is a nice looking piece much like many of the other Malaga pipes I have worked on. Jeff had cleaned and reamed the pipe quite some time ago and it has been sitting here for a very long time. The briar is very clean and the shank and stem also clean. The bowl is clean and the rim top and edges are in perfect condition. The stem is clean and has some small tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. I took the following photos to tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before I started the next part of the restoration work. I took a photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe. The bowl, rim top and edges all look very good. There is some roughness on the inner edge that should clean up quite easily. The stem had tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button.I also took a photo of top side of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photo below and is as noted above – “MALAGA”. The stamping on the underside reads IMPORTED BRIAR very visible in the second photo below.I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportion. It is a great looking, very English style pipe.For those of you who are unfamiliar with the brand, I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. If you are interested to learn more then I invite you to follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

I decided to address the damage to the rim top and edges first. I topped the bowl on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged portions of the rim surface. I polished the rim and the outside of the bowl 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 sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a 10-15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift all of them.I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to blend tooth chatter into the surface of the stem. I am happy with the stem surface once that was done. I started the polishing of the surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the pipe back together and polished both the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. 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 oil cured finish and the grain came alive with the buffing. The grain really stands out against the dark finish providing a rich contrast. The two small fills on the bowl (one on the left top front and back toward the top) blended in quite well. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained Canadian. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this Malaga Canadian on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipemakers Section. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another Malaga. Remember we are but trustees of our pipes until the next pipe man or woman takes on the trust. Smoke in health!