Tag Archives: Oxidation

Working on the First of Two Ropp Pipes – A Ropp Make S Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, a Barling’s Make “Ye Olde Wood” Fossil, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.

You have seen the work we have done on the Dunhills, Hardcastles, H. Simmons all briar billiard and BBB pipes from the lot but there are still more. The above photo shows the two Ropp pipes. I am working the smaller one first – the bent billiard.

I have worked on several Ropp pipes in the past but this one was unique in many ways that will become evident in the photos below. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads ROPP in an oval [over] MAKE and above the oval is an upper case ‘S. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident. There is a silver plated band on the shank that is stamped the same was as the shank. It also has an EP in a Diamond (electroplated) and an E and an R each in a circle over three hallmarks. I spent time looking up hallmarks on French sites and was not able to clearly identify them as they were blurry.

Jeff took some photos of the Ropp Make S Bent Billiard before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. There were also large chips or nicks on the front of the bowl on the outer edge. He took photos of the top and underside of the vulcanite stem showing the oxidation, tooth marks,chatter and wear on the stem and button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable as noted above.I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the Ropp brand and particularly the Ropp Make S line that I was working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-ropp.html). I quote from the introduction to the brand on the site and include a screen capture of a poster that was on the site.

Brand created by Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830 – 1907) and continued throughout 3 generations. “GBA Synergie” run by Bernard Amiel (†2008) bought back Ropp in 1988 and owned it until 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Chacom, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1994.

I quote from the sidebar on the site below as it gives a good summary of information.

Brand created in 1910. The shop was situated on Maiden Lane. Three addresses now (2010): 75 Broad Street, 70 East 42nd Street, 570 Lexington Avenue. See also: André
I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ropp). I quote the information below. Ropp is well known for its Cherrywood pipes which were patented in1869. Besides that Eugene Ropp also made beautiful briar pipes.

Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830 – 1907) had acquired a patent for a cherrywood pipe (wild cherry, lat.: Prunus avium) in 1869. In 1870 he established a workshop to manufacture such pipes in Büssingen (Bussang, Vosges mountains). Around 1893 the business moved into the former mill of Sicard (part of the community of Baume-les-Dames – Département Doubs, Upper Burgundy – from 1895 on).

The pipes were a big success in the export as well. Shortly before 1914 Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) in to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and it’s colonies.

Probably in 1917 a workshop in Saint-Claude in the Rue du Plan du Moulin 8 was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923 a small building in the environment of Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added.

Even though cherrywood pipes were the mainstay of Ropp until the company finally closed down in September 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Chacom, Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1994.

I have included three photos from the site of a pipe that was stamped exactly like the one that I am working on. It is stamped with Ropp in an oval with Make stamped below that. Like the one that I am working it also has an S above and to the right of the oval logo. The silver band is stamped the same way. The stepped down tenon on the stem is the same. With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on an older pipe from the Eugene Ropp Workshop. It is a great piece of briar with chunky nicely made shape. The fellow we bought them from said that he had had this pipe for a very long time. I could not set a date for certain but my guess was early 30s or 40s like some of the earlier pipes. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and light damage to the inner edge of the bowl. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.   I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was in rough condition, the outer edge was damaged on the front and the right side and the rim top had a lot of damage all around. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the underside of the shank and it was clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. The metal tenon is in excellent condition and the threaded shank also looks very good.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and the damage on the inner and outer edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner and outer edge to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening on the rim top as well.Jeff sent a photo of a crack in the shank on the underside under the band. After he had cleaned it up it was hard to see clearly but it was still present. I decided to drill a small pin hole at the end of the crack. This was one of those cases where I was certain I had it pinned down and drilled a hole with a microdrill bit. Once would have been horrible but it took 4 tries to finally hit the hidden hairline crack! The two to the right of the photo hit the crack. The first was too low and the second nailed the end of it. The two on the left totally missed. Arggh…I finally got it. I filled in the small holes with CA glue and briar dust. Once the repairs cured I sanded the repair smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and wiped it off with a damp cloth. Other than the new freckles the shank is fixed! Sheesh I feel like a real amateur! I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to take on a shine. I stained the repairs on the bottom of the shank with an oak stain pen to blend them into the finish.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the surface of the vulcanite. I was able to lift the majority of them. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I used a file to flatten out the repairs and recut the sharp edge of the button. I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in the rest of the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the Ropp logo on the left side of the stem. The stamp was worn so though it is better it is not perfect.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry 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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Eugene Ropp Make Bent Billiard back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is a great looking sandblast. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.66 ounces /47 grams. This older Ropp Bent Billiard is another great find in this collection. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

Refreshing a Dr. Grabow Sculptura Blasted Bulldog while Testing a New Deoxidizer Product


Blog by Dal Stanton

My friend and fellow pipe man restorer, Dave Shane (see: The Pipery.com) donated the pipe now on the worktable, the Dr. Grabow Sculptura, along with 12 other pipes.  Dave and I worked together several years ago in Ukraine.  Our paths met again in January of 2018 when I was in the US from Bulgaria and went to his home in the Atlanta area to catch up.  After much talk, some adult beverages and of course, sharing a few bowls together, Dave gifted me these pipes to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Some have already found their way to new stewards and the Dr. Grabow (in the picture on the far right) caught the attention of another friend and fellow pipe man, Todd.

Todd has already commissioned several pipes from The Pipe Steward and is an active contributor on several Facebook groups dedicated to pipe men and women and their pipes and tobaccos.  I became aware that Todd was an attorney specializing in international issues and especially China when he commissioned his first pipes in September of 2018 while I was still living in Bulgaria.  I had written to him asking for more patience to ‘bump him’ a bit in the queue so I could restore a special pipe commissioned by Chrystal, who was visiting us in Sofia from China. Chrystal had chosen a pipe to take back to China as a special gift for her grandfather (see: A Special Gift for Her Grandfather in the People’s Republic of China – A Sculpted Rose Billiard of Italy).  It was a special visit and write up where I was able to include great pictures of Chrystal with her grandfather and his new pipe that she had sent upon her return to the People’s Republic of China.

When Todd found out why he was being ‘bumped’ I then found out about his work and special focus and devotion to China as a country and culture.  Over time I have appreciated getting to know Todd more and we have made commitments to have bowls together when our paths ever get close enough!  I have restored some nice, collectable pipes for Todd and when he wrote me about commissioning the Dr. Grabow, along with a few other ‘low-end’ pipes, as he described them, I was intrigued.  Through our communications about commissioning the Dr. Grabow, I discovered that Todd and I share a similar view on the cost of a pipe not necessarily an accurate indicator of a better smoking experience.  Todd wrote:

I recently acquired a couple of Dr. Grabow and Kaywoodie and other older, “low-end” pipes in good condition from eBay and found the old briar to be very tasty.  As you may know, I try to reject the snobbery inherent in every aspect of so much of life; I enjoy a $10 Wrangler shirt from Walmart as much as a $100 shirt from Brooks Brothers, if not more; it fits and looks great, and that’s my major concern; the lower price is also a big help.  Snobbery is present in this hobby also.  Pipe making at $750.00 a pop is certainly good work if you can find it.  However, in my humble experience, there seems to be negligible equivalency between price and briar quality of smoking, unless of course, Covid19 has deadened my faculty of taste. Enough of my useless pontificating.  Please take a look at those six pipes and let me know your ideas. And please remember that your fine work is well appreciated by me and, I believe, many others in our hobby.

My response to Todd’s comments expressed my agreement:

Todd, I’m in total alignment with you about named pipes vs. basket pipes not being an indicator of how well a pipe smokes.  And I think you would agree, that so many ‘low end’ pipes are only ‘low end’ because they were on more of a conveyor line when they were manufactured.  Many of my restorations show that TLC with a no name throw away can produce an absolute treasure.

I know that there are many Dr. Grabow enthusiasts out there and to call a pipe a low-end pipe does not mean a ‘cheap’ pipe!  Sometimes of course, this IS the case, but my experience has shown that with a little help, pipes that do not cost an arm and leg can look like a million and smoke just as well as the more expensive pipes out there.  This is the first Dr. Grabow that I’ve worked on that is not upgrading an Omega – Dr. Grabow’s version of a system pipe.  Here are some pictures of the Dr. Grabow Sculptura Blasted Bulldog which whispered Todd’s name in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection which he commissioned: The nomenclature is found in a smooth briar panel on the lower right panel of the Bulldog’s characteristic diamond shank.  Stamped there is, SCULPTURA [over] DR. GRABOW.  I could find no other markings.The classic Bulldog is a fun shape and always seems to rustle up images of a bulldog smoking a pipe – but not necessarily a Bulldog shape!  The blasted Sculptura looks like Grabow’s attempt at a value pipe and it’s not half bad.  The diamond shank nickel cap/extender is interesting giving this Bulldog more of an ‘elegant’ reach than the normal short, stubby reach of the classic Bulldog.  The blasted finish is not bad too and has somewhat of a ‘Dunhill’ hue going for it with the deeper reddish tones nuancing the dark finish.

Pipedia’s short comment about the Sculptura line of Dr. Grabow in the History Timeline article states that the line was introduced in 1967 and registered by HL&T in 1972 (See  Henry Leonard & Thomas Inc. for more information about company acquisitions when Linkman sold to HL&T in 1955 and operations were moved from Chicago to Greensboro, NC).  More specific information is uncovered in the Pipedia Dr. Grabow article focusing on the myriad of Grabow models, series and lines through the years:

SCULPTURA (c1967-69?) — Newest of the RJR special offer pipes. These were sandblasted in a “big” blast. The operator stood with his hands in heavy rubber gloves and blasted away grain. He could only do about 50 pieces an hour. Prior to this, most “sandblasted” pipes were tumbled in a contraption like a cement mixer using walnut shells as the media. Dr. Grabow really never got into that but waited until they could do it “right” using glass shot.

The Sculptura line was without shape numbers and was a Grabow line which was exclusively sand blasted pipes of various shapes.  We know from this article that Sculpturas were produced ‘properly’ using the processes pioneered by London’s Dunhill.  The Sculptura was considered a ‘newer’ line of pipes because they were introduced after the acquisition that moved the Grabow production from Chicago to North Carolina.  The history of the Dr. Grabow pipe name can be explored further at Pipedia’s main Dr. Grabow article (See: LINK) which is a good read describing the history.  I would be remiss if I didn’t refresh the memory of how the Dr. Grabow name started for a line of pipes and continues to be a much-loved pipe by many which can be evidenced in a quick look at The Dr. Grabow’s Collector’s Forum.   I repeat in its entirety a Pipedia article written by the grandson of the ‘original’ Dr. Grabow, entitled, The Legend of Dr. Grabow (Written October, 2005, by Paul W. Grabow, and courtesy of DrGrabow-pipe-info.com [now defunct]):

Dr. Grabow Pipes are named after Dr. Paul E. Grabow (my deceased Grandfather), a general-practitioner physician formerly with an office on the northeast corner of Fullerton and Halsted in Chicago. His youngest son was Mr. Milford P. Grabow (my Uncle) who passed away January, 2005 in Chicago. Dr. Grabow’s other son (my Father, deceased in 1979) was Dr. William S. Grabow, a dentist who practiced in Chicago and Evanston, IL.

Milford Grabow recently recounted details of the Dr. Grabow Pipe legend in a letter to me as follows:

“To start from the beginning, the old homestead was on 2348 Seminary Ave. (Chicago) before the De Paul University bought and tore down the whole area to expand the campus. Three doors north on 2400 Seminary Ave. (corner of Fullerton) was Brown’s Drug Store, one of the old fashion community Drug stores that was popular of that area and was owned by Brown the Druggist. It had the usual ice cream counter and wire chairs and tables to serve sodas and sundaes. My Father became fast friends with his fishing buddy the Druggist. Most every weeknight after dinner while Mom did the dishes, Pop would visit Mr. Brown in the back room of the store and they would have weighty discussions about world events, fishing, politics, sports, etc. while smoking their pipes. One block west on Fullerton on the corner of Racine was the large pipe factory owned by Mr. Linkman. Mr. Linkman, when he wasn’t too busy, would join the other two in their bull sessions and the three became fast friends.

It was during one of their nightly sessions that Mr. Linkman mentioned that he was coming out with a new pipe containing some innovated improvements and was looking for a name for it. He thought if it contained a Doctor’s name it would probably sell well so he asked my Father if he would mind if he could use the Dr. Grabow name as he liked the sound of it. My Father liked the idea and was flattered to have a pipe named after him. So Mr. Linkman used the Dr. Grabow name without any formal agreement but just a “friendly understanding.”

As a child in the 1940’s and 1950’s, I remember how Grandpa loved to smoke his Dr. Grabow pipes. The pipes were generously provided to him at no cost by Mr. Linkman, apparently part of the friendly understanding. Dr. Paul E. Grabow died of natural causes in 1965 at the ripe age of 97. He had a very rich and full life and I believe pipe smoking was good to him. Through the years I’ve enjoyed watching the growth of the Dr. Grabow Pipes and sharing Grandpa’s legend with the curious.

Anyone personally familiar with additional details of this legend is requested to forward input to the undersigned.

Paul W. Grabow

With a renewed appreciation for the Dr. Grabow name, I look more closely at the Blasted Sculptura Bulldog on the worktable which shows no major issues and which is why I’m calling it a ‘refresh’.  The chamber has little cake build up and the rim has grime.  What I see that is interesting is that the draft hole at the floor of the chamber looks to be a larger opening than usual. The blasted surface has had its share of nicks, cuts and dents.  Raw briar is visible here and there over the blasted surface.The nickel shank cap has a high gloss – like it was plated.  The surface is pitted, and small scratching is visible.  This should shine up nicely.The stem has significant and what I would call, deep oxidation.  The vulcanite surface is rough, and the bit has a few compressions that need addressing.  To see more clearly the oxidation, I’ve lightened the following pictures to reveal the dreaded, greenish murk of the oxidation.  Oxidation happens to rubber mostly when overly exposed to UV lighting – sunlight.  There is no way to totally protect a stem except to keep it in a UV free environment.  Saliva also encourages oxidation.As I begin the refreshing of this Dr. Grabow, I will start with the oxidation in the stem.  I’m using this write up to test a new product that I heard about on one of the Facebook groups where I post my work and converse with fellow pipe men.  In the process of restoring pipes, the issue of oxidation in vulcanite stems is always an issue and is one of the most time-consuming parts of the process of restoration.  Finding and using products that can naturally or chemically remove the oxidation is the holy grail that is sought.  When oxidation is removed like this, it reduces sanding, time spent and can guard the stem logos stamped into the stems.  The product that I’m trying for the first time comes from www.Briarville.com and is called, ‘Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover’.  The product that I have been using is Mark Hoover’s, ‘Before & After Deoxidizer’ (www.Lbpen.com) which has in my experience had mixed reviews.  What I have found with Mark’s product is that it does great with stems having minor oxidation.  However, stems with what I call ‘deep’ oxidation, seem always to need additional sanding and prep work to remove the oxidation even with use of the product.  In fairness to Mark’s Before & After Deoxidizer, in talking with pipe man, Chris from the Netherlands, who was part of the FB discussion about deoxidizer products, he shared with me that he just acquired an ‘extra strength’ version of the Before & After product that Chris said worked much better in his experience than the ‘normal’ strength.  I’ll need to reach out to Mark to find out about this!

When I decided to order the Briarville Deoxidizer product, I had already started working on the Dr. Grabow stem using Before & After Deoxidizer.  I followed the same process steps as I normally do by starting with cleaning the airway.Knowing that the oxidation is deep, I employ 0000 grade steel wool with Soft Scrub to begin the process of breaking down the oxidation.  I do this to give a ‘head start’ on the oxidation removal before putting it through the Before & After Deoxidizer paces.After thoroughly rinsing the stem, the Grabow stem is added to the Before & After Deoxidizer along with two other pipes’ stems which have already been claimed by other stewards.After allowing the stems to soak through the night, the Dr. Grabow stem is drained of the Deoxidizer fluid.  I squeegee with my fingers and using pipe cleaners and alcohol clear the liquid from the airway.I discover that the nickel stinger thankfully, can be removed from the nickel tenon.  The vulcanite is wiped down with cotton pads wetted with alcohol to remove raised oxidation.  Following this, to start conditioning the stem, paraffin oil is applied to the vulcanite stem. The results:  After the entire process using steel wool and Soft Scrub, soaking 24 hours in the Before & After Deoxidizer, the lightened pictures detect what I can see with the naked eye – the oxidation has been mitigated some, but continues to be visible predominantly around the saddle stem. block and in the bit area.  Ugh! The Briarville Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover arrived from Briarville in Florida and the only directions were on the front label stating, “Soak Stem for 2 to 24 hours as needed for oxidation removal.”  When I opened the bottle for the first time, on impulse I decided to smell the contents to see if I could discover through olfactory investigation clues to the secret mixture which was billed to add to my pipe restoration happiness.  Mark Hoover’s Before & After secrets are only described as being fully organic – made with natural ingredients.  As I sniffed Briarville’s Deoxidizer, the first thing that struck me was that it smelled like the side-chair mouth rinse my dentist provides to remove the debris of his work.  It was interesting too, that pipe man, Chris, in the Netherlands said later when texting with him, that his first impression of the product when he gave it a whiff, was that it reminded him of Listerine!  Two similar responses to the question of the secret ingredients of Briarville’s mixture.  Chris said he would test this hypothesis of mouthwash by soaking stems in Listerine to see if the results were similar.  He said he would let me know how it turned out.I decide to put the Dr. Grabow through the paces again using the Briarville Oxidation Remover even though it had been through the Before & After process.  The bottle is shaped nicely so that most stems will fit in the bottle and be covered with the solution.  The Dr. Grabow goes into the solution and I decide to give it the maximum exposure from the outset – 24 hours.  As I do with Before & After, I add two additional stems of pipes that are in the queue after cleaning their airways alone, to join the 24-hour experiment.  I decided not to ‘prep’ the stems by scrubbing with steel wool and Soft Scrub. I considered one of the two stems as having deep oxidation.  The pristine yellow color of the fluid changed gradually during the oxidation removal process.After 24 hours, the stems were removed from the Briarville Oxidation Remover including the Dr. Grabow stem.  First, using a dry cotton pad, the stem is wiped to remove raised oxidation from the stem.  A distinctive brown color is left on the pad.  Following the initial wipe with a dry pad, the stem is additionally wiped with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean thoroughly. Afterwards, as I did with the Before & After evaluation, I lighten the photo to show what I also am not now seeing with my eye – residual oxidation.  I’m not seeing the oxidation compared with the second ‘before’ picture – where the oxidation was still presenting after the Before & After Deoxidation process. As usual, I then treat the stem with paraffin oil to further condition the vulcanite and put the stem aside.I know this testing is not scientific and it could be reasoned that the more positive result with the Grabow stem with the Briarville product could have been made possible because it first had been through the Before & After process.  This is true and this method of testing is experiential and open to subjective results.  However, the other stems had similar results even though they received no prep or did they first go through the Before & After process.  The set of three pictures of each stem includes in this order: 1) Enhanced picture before treatment, 2) After treatment showing the cotton pad results, and 3) After applying paraffin oil with enhanced picture to show latent oxidation.  First, the St. Regis DeLuxe stem.Next, the stem of the Bennington Supreme:Based upon these results, I have found no reason not to continue testing and using Briarville.com’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover and see how it goes in the long run. Generally, I’m seeing positive results where oxidation seems significantly reduced.  Again, this was not a scientific test but my desire to see how different products work!   The cost of the 8 oz. bottle was $26.98, which included mailing to Colorado.

Turning now to the stummel, the chamber has a light cake – it appears as though it had recently been reamed but I start again with a clean slate.  The chamber is reamed with the Pipnet Reaming Kit using 2 smaller of the 4 blades available.  This is followed by scraping the walls of the chamber with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool.  Finally, the chamber is sanded with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.After wiping the bowl, the inspection shows a healthy chamber with no heating problems.Transitioning to the external blasted surface, the stummel is scrubbed with a cotton pad and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap.  A bristled toothbrush is also used to scrub the surface, the dual dome grooves, and the rim.The stummel then goes to the sink with warm to hottish water and the internal mortise is scrubbed with shank brushes using liquid anti-oil dishwashing soap.  After the stummel is scrubbed and thoroughly rinsed, it goes back to the worktable to continue the cleaning process.The internals are fine cleaned next using cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99%.  A small dental spoon is also helpful in scraping and excavating old oil and tar buildup on the mortise wall. After some effort, the buds emerge lighter and I stop the cleaning for now. I plan later to give the stummel a kosher salt and alcohol soak to continue to freshen the internals for a new steward.With the surface cleaning completed, an inspection shows what I saw earlier.  The finish is old and worn.  There are lightened spots showing bare briar.  The rim cleaned up nicely. It doesn’t take much consideration to give the nicely blasted Grabow Bulldog a fresh finish.  To clean the surface further, a cotton pad wetted with alcohol wipes the surface and reveals what I mentioned earlier.  The dark finish has a reddish tone which is reminiscent of the Dunhill branded color that my good friend and pipe man in India, Paresh, has almost perfected in his restorations of Dunhill pipes and shared in his blogs on rebornpipes.  This Dr. Grabow will get a dark undercoat of dark brown with just a touch of black dye added. I add the black to deepen the hue a bit.  Over this primary undercoat, a red dye will be washed.  With the components needed assembled on the worktable, after wrapping the nickel shank cap with painter’s tape, I begin by heating the stummel with the hot air gun.  The warming of the briar expands it and helps it to be more receptive to the dyes.  Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye is used and with it is mixed only a drop of Fiebing’s Black.  With a cork in the chamber to act as a handle and stand, the dye mixture is applied with a folded pipe cleaner.  After application of the dye over a small patch of the briar surface, the aniline dye is flamed with a lit candle.  The alcohol combusts in the dye burning off leaving behind in the grain the dye pigment.  After thoroughly applying the dye and flaming it, the stummel is set aside to allow the newly dyed stummel to rest letting the dye settle.Next, the stem needs some attention.  The bit has some roughness and tooth chatter.  The upper button lip has a significant compression which I’m hopeful of minimizing.  To minimize or remove the biting damage to the bit the heating method is used.  Using a Bic lighter, the bit is painted with the flame back and forth. As the flame heats the vulcanite, physics takes over and the rubber expands recapturing its former shape – at least partially.  I take before pictures and the after-heating process. The large compression on the upper button is still there but I’m hopeful that sanding alone will take care of it. Next, a flat needle file is used to refresh the button lips to improve the bite hang. The filing is followed by sanding with 240 grade sanding paper focusing first on smoothing the compressions in the bit and button and then expanded to include the entire stem.  A plastic disk is used on the tenon side of the stem to prevent shouldering – keeping the edges crisp forming of the shank union. Next, moving to less abrasive sanding, wet sanding with 600 grade paper is followed by applying 0000 grade steel wool.Following the steel wool, the full regimen of micromesh pads is used starting with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  This is followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to condition the vulcanite and to guard against oxidation.  I love the pop of freshly micromeshed stems! Putting the stem to the side, the stummel has rested several hours after applying the dye undercoat.  Next, after a felt buffing wheel is mounted to the rotary tool set at about 30% full power, the flamed crust is removed from the Grabow blasted surface. Following this, a cotton pad wetted with alcohol is used to wipe the newly dyed stummel surface.  This helps to blend the dye and to remove overt, excess dye.As before, in preparation of applying the red dye overcoat, the stummel is warmed using the hot air gun.I use a red dye concentrate called TransTint which can be mixed with either water or alcohol to form the base.  I mix a small amount of alcohol with the red concentrate.  With the stummel warmed, a pipe cleaner is used to ‘wash’ the red dye over the dark undercoat.  When the blasted surface is thoroughly covered with the overcoat of red, the stummel is put aside to rest again for several hours allowing the dye to settle.After a few hours, the dye has dried enough to handle the stummel.  Before turning the lights out for the night, I continue the internal stummel cleaning with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  Being careful not to disturb the resting dye, a cotton ball is stretched and twisted to form a ‘wick’ which is guided down the mortise to the draft hole with the help of a stiff wire.  The cotton wick helps to draw the oils and tars from the internal briar walls. After the wick is in the mortise, the bowl is filled with the kosher salt and set in an egg crate to maintain stability.  Kosher salt does not leave an aftertaste like iodized salt. The bowl is then filled with isopropyl 99% until it surfaces over the salt. After about 15 minutes, after the initial alcohol has been absorbed, additional alcohol is used to top it off.  The lights are turned off allowing the soak to do its thing through the night and the dye to continue to settle in.The next morning reveals soiling in the salt and the cotton wick indicating that the process has worked.  After removing the expended salt and wiping the bowl with a paper towel I blow through the mortise to assure that the salt crystals are removed.To make sure the internals are clean and to remove any remaining debris, a few cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 99% confirm the internals are clean and refreshed.  I move on.The red overcoat wash of red dye rested through the night.  To continue the refinishing process, a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the rotary tool and set to about 40% full power.  Using Blue Diamond compound, the buffing is applied to the blasted briar. I’m waiting to attach the stem and to apply Blue Diamond to it because this phase of Blue Diamond is for the purpose of removing excess dye.  While applying the Blue Diamond, I am also careful not to overrun onto the nickel shank cap.  Polishing the metal is reserved for another buffing wheel dedicated to this purpose.  Polishing metals with Blue Diamond compound produce a black residue that can stain the briar if one is not careful.  This is the reason for dedicated buffing wheels for different materials.After the initial application of Blue Diamond compound, the surface is wiped with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  The purpose of this is to reduce excess dye and to help prevent dye leeching on the hands when the pipe is put into service. After the wipe down, the stummel is again buffed with Blue Diamond compound.One final measure to minimize the possibility of the dye leeching onto the hands of the new steward when the pipe is put into service.  To emulate the heating of the pipe during its initial times put into service, the stummel is warmed with the hot air gun.While the stummel is hot, an old cotton cloth is used rigorously to hand buff the stummel picking up the final vestiges of excess dye – hopefully!  Next, another cleaner cotton buffing wheel is mounted onto the rotary tool and Blue Diamond compound is applied to the waiting stem.  The nickel stinger is also reunited to the threaded tenon after being cleaned and polished with 0000 grade steel wool. With both the stummel and stem buffed with Blue Diamond, next is buffing the nickel shank cap and stinger/tenon.  Another cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to metals is mounted on the rotary tool.  The speed remains at about 40% full power and the nickel is shined up using the mildly abrasive compound.After completing all the applications of Blue Diamond, a felt cloth is used to wipe/buff the entire pipe including the nickel fitments.  This is done to make sure compound dust is removed before application of the wax to the stem and stummel.The last step is to mount another cotton cloth wheel to the rotary tool maintaining the same speed.  Carnauba wax is applied to the stem and stummel avoiding the nickel shank cap.  When the wax has been applied, a microfiber cloth is used to give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine and to disperse excess wax.The classic Bulldog shape looks great.  The Dr. Grabow Sculptura dates to the 1960s and this one looks brand new.  The extended nickel shank cap gives the Bulldog a bit of class and the renewed blasted surface is pleasing to the eye and touch.  Todd commissioned this classic Dr. Grabow and will have the first opportunity to claim him in The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks for joining me!

 

Finding a Surprise Among the 7 Barclay-Rex Pipes – A Barling’s Make “Ye Olde Wood” Fossil EXEL 406 Bent Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.

You have seen the work we have done on the Dunhills, Hardcastles, H. Simmons all briar billiard and BBB pipes from the lot but there are still more. The above photo shows all of the Barclay-Rex pipes that were purchased from the New York City shop by the fellow we bought the collection from. It is one of two sandblast pipes that he had and it is a Canadian shaped pipe.

I have worked on several Barclay-Rex pipes in the past but this one was unique in many ways that will become evident in the photos below. When I looked at the various Barclay-Rex Pipes I decided to work on this apple. You can imagine the surprise that I had when I took it out of the box and look at the stamping expecting to see BARCLAY-REX New York and saw something totally different. This pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank and reads Barling’s [arched over] Make [over] “Ye Olde Wood” [over]406 on the heel of the bowl. To the right of that it is stamped EXEL [over] Fossil. That is followed by Made in England (two lines) followed by T.V.F. (The Very Finest). The stamping is clear and readable and I was utterly surprised. The stem is stamped with remnants of the Barling Cross on the top of the taper stem.

Jeff took some photos of the Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood Fossil EXEL 406 before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be a great sandblast under the grime and debris of the years. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim looks to be heavily damaged under the lava on the top and the inner and outer edges. It really is a mess. He took photos of the top and underside of the vulcanite stem showing the tooth marks, chatter and wear on the stem and button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the sandblast grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable as noted above. I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling). I believe that the pipe is a Family Era pipe so I read the article with interest and gleaned some information on the stamping on the pipe.

The first section I quote below is with regard to the nomenclature on the pipe. The one I am working on bears the stamping “Ye Olde Wood” and T.V.F. and the style name Fossil. I have highlighted the pertinent section in red.

Family Era Nomenclature:

Before discussing the nomenclature of the Family Era pipes it is important to note that there are no absolutes. Barling pipes from this period show a remarkable degree of variation when it comes to nomenclature. The following information can be applied in a general fashion.

According to Tad Gage, Pre-1946 stampings are minimal. Pre WW2 pipes rarely have size, shape or grading. But pipes have surfaced, hallmarked as early as 1925 with size marks, and as early as 1926 with model numbers. There may be earlier examples, and when we see them we will revise the dates.

Examples with silver hallmarks illustrate that a distinct change in nomenclature occurred around 1938-40, although clearly the war and London bombings impacted production of silver-mounted and of all English pipes. A George Yale catalog from 1941 features the familiar stampings such as “YE OLDE WOOD”, “TVF”, and style names like “Fossil”, and these were not generally found on pre-1940 pipes, although “YE OLDE WOOD” did inconsistently appear on some earlier examples. (Gage)…

The next section I am quoting is with regard to the Logo nomenclature. The Barling’s Make stamp is explained below. Following that I have included some information ont eh “Ye Olde Wood” stamp and the Barling Cross stem logo.

Logo Nomenclature:

…The “BARLING’S MAKE” has the word “BARLING’S” arched over the word “MAKE” in capital block letters. Barling used this block letter logo until late 1962…

During the 1930’s and early 1940’s the BARLING’S MAKE logo appeared in a small version with a simpler letter style. Following the War, the small “BARLING’S MAKE” logo was discontinued and a larger logo was used. The larger logo would continue to be in use until 1962, when the 1930’s style logo was reintroduced along with the new numbering system…

Ye Olde Wood Stamp:

Sometime around 1913, the “Ye Olde Wood” stamp made its appearance on selected pipes. An example exists stamped on a 1913 date hallmarked pipe.

This logo will continue to be used in the decades to come. Initially it was used to designate a higher grade than the average, much as the “Special” grade would after the Second World War. Price lists show the “Ye Olde Wood” pipes as a separate grade from the basic BARLING’S MAKE pipe. Eventually, “Ye Olde Wood” came to represent the company to the world. The use of “YE OLD WOOD” as a stamp prior to 1940 was haphazard, at best, although the company used the slogan in advertising materials from the early teens onward. (Gage)

Crossed Barling Stem Logo:

It is not known when the crossed Barling stem logo first appeared, but an example exists on a pipe with a 1923 date hallmark. And several of the mid 1920’s pipes added in this update also feature the crossed Barling stem logo.

Lastly, I have included information on the shape number and the size stamping on this pipe all of which help to date it.

Model Numbers:

Model numbers were occasionally stamped below the logo as early as the late 1920’s.

Nichols Numbers:

Pipes intended for the US Market have a 3 digit model number. However, Family Era Barlings may have two numbers, not just three, and they may also have a letter following the model numbers. For example, the letter “M” following a model number would indicate that the bowl is meerschaum lined.

Stamping model numbers on the pipes became much more common after WW2, though like all Barling nomenclature their appearance is a bit haphazard…

Other Nomenclature:

The “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp was in use in the 1930’s thru 1962. As with all things related to Barling nomenclature there are variations. Sometimes there is no “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp. Examples exist with a “MADE IN LONDON” over “ENGLAND” stamp. And, there are examples with “MADE IN ENGLAND” with no period after the word “ENGLAND”.

Size Stampings:

Up to 1926 and possibly beyond, Barling used specific, completely unrelated, model numbers to designate the various sizes of a specific shape. They produced pipes in three sizes, small, medium, and large.

Barling’s published price lists show that they continued to offer pipes in only three sizes, small, medium, and large until 1941. That’s it, small, medium, and large. So when someone claims that they have a 1930’s EL, EXEL, or other size, they are mistaken.

In 1941 the published range of sizes expanded. Going from the smallest to the largest, they are SS, S, S-M, L, EL, EXEL, and EXEXEL. There is no “G” for giant. Giant pipes, or magnums, which are oversized standard billiards, were not stamped “G” but are commonly identified by collectors as such because they are obviously large relative to even EXEXEL pipes, and carried no size stampings (Gage)…

With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working a Barling’s Make “Ye Olde Wood” Fossil from the time period between 1941 and 1962. It is a beautifully sandblasted pipe that has some great grain. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep sandblast that is quite beautiful. The rim top is in rough condition with chips out of the top and inner edge of the bowl making it out of round.. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.   I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was in rough condition with chips and nicks in the sandblast of the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl out of round. I would take some work to straighten out the issues. I took close up photos of the stem end of the pipe to show the condition of the surface and button.  I took a picture of the stamping on the underside of the shank and it was faint but readable as noted above.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage on the rim top and the inner edges of the bowl. The first photo shows the condition of the rim after I had lightly topped it and what the edge looked like before I started. I decided to rebuild the chipped areas on the rim top and edges with briar dust and CA glue. I layered the CA glue on the edge and top and used a dental spatula to press briar dust on top of it. It took multiple layers on the rear and back edge and rim top before I was happy with it.When I finished the repairs I used a Dremel and burrs to reproduce the sandblast finish on the rim top to match the bowl sides. I stained the rim top and edges with a combination of Black, Walnut and Cherry stain pens to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. I took pictures of the finished rim top to give an idea of the completed look of the repair.

With the rim repair completed I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the surface of the vulcanite. I was able to lift the majority of them and interestingly the small pin hole on the topside sealed off. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I used two files to flatten out the repairs and recut the sharp edge of the button. I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in the rest of the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I touched up the faint stamping on the top of the stem with PaperMate Liquid Paper White. I worked it into the surface of the stamping with a tooth pick. When it cured I scraped off the excess with a tooth pick and a sanding pad. The stamping was faint on in the middle but more readable on the edges.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry 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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Sandblast Barling’s Make Fossil 406 EXEL Bent Apple back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is a great looking sandblast. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.55ounces /44grams. This Barling’s Make Fossil Bent Apple is another great find in this collection. It is a shape that touches all of my buttons. It is one that I am still trying to figure out what to do with. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

Working on the First of Seven Barclay-Rex Pipes – A Sandblast Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.

You have seen the work we have done on the Dunhills, Hardcastles, H. Simmons all briar billiard and BBB pipes from the lot but there are still more. The above photo shows all of the Barclay-Rex pipes that were purchased from the New York City shop by the fellow we bought the collection from. It is one of two sandblast pipes that he had and it is a Canadian shaped pipe.

I have worked on several Barclay-Rex pipes in the past but this one was unique in many ways that will become evident in the photos below. This pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank and reads BARCLAY-REX [over] New York. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident.

Jeff took some photos of the BARCLAY-REX sandblast Canadian before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. He took photos of the top and underside of the vulcanite stem showing the tooth marks, chatter and wear on the stem and button. Jeff removed the stem from the shank and it turned out to be a threaded metal tenon that appears to have been original. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable as noted above. I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the Barclay-Rex brand and particularly the sandblast one I was working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b1.html). I have included a screen capture of the information that is shown there.I quote from the sidebar on the site below as it gives a good summary of information.

Brand created in 1910. The shop was situated on Maiden Lane. Three addresses now (2010): 75 Broad Street, 70 East 42nd Street, 570 Lexington Avenue. See also: André

I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barclay_Rex). I quote the information below.

Barclay-Rex, a downtown Manhattan tobacconist, was founded in 1910 by Vincent Nastri, a pipemaker from Salerno, Italy. The store was originally located at Barclay and Church Street, and the name was taken from that location and Nastri’s beloved Great Dane, Rex. The business is still run by Vincent Nastri, III and owned by Vincent Nastri, Jr.. They have several locations in New York City. The store has carried pipes from all fine makers, and the Barclay-Rex line of pipes is also much sought after, in that pipes were made in a range from the very inexpensive into the several hundreds of dollars. The pipes were, at least into the 1960’s, made of Algerian briar.

In addition to pipes made by Mr. Nastri over the years, Mr. Nastri, III, has been quoted as stating that a pipemaker just leaving Dunhill made pipes with a small off-white dot on the stem for a time for the shop. As was discovered by Steve Laug of Reborn Pipes, they were evidently made by a pipemaker whose initials were HGP, and stamped on the pipe as such. These pipes were made for a single run only, and then never made again.

In addition, Sasieni at least for a time made private label pipes stamped with the Barclay-Rex name, but with their own shapes and shape numbers.

Locations: (Flagship Store) 75 Broad Street, New York, New York 10004 Telephone: (212) 962-3355

70 East 42nd Street, New York, New York 10165 Telephone: (212) 692-9680

570 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022 Telephone: (212) 888-1015

Email: info@barclayrex.com Website: http://www.barclayrex.com Toll Free: (888) 278-6222 Fax: (212) 962-3372

With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on a pipe from the Barclay-Rex Tobacconist in New York City. The fellow we bought them from intimated that he purchased them at the Manhattan store. I was unable to pin down any information regarding the date this pipe was made. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and light damage to the inner edge of the bowl. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.   I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was in decent condition and there was some darkening in the sandblast of the rim top that would need to be cleaned up. I took close up photos of the stem end of the pipe to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the underside of the shank and it was clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. The metal tenon is in excellent condition and the threaded shank also looks very good.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and the damage on the inner edges of the bowl. I used a brass bristle brush to scrub the surface of the rim and the edges. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the surface of the vulcanite. I was able to lift the majority of them and interestingly the small pin hole on the topside sealed off. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I used two files to flatten out the repairs and recut the sharp edge of the button. I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in the rest of the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry 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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Sandblast Barclay-Rex Canadian back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is a great looking sandblast. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is .95ounces /27 grams. This Barclay-Rex Sandblast is another great find in this collection. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Working on the second of two Hardcastle’s  Straight Grain Selection No. 1 Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.

You have seen the work we have done on the Dunhills and BBB pipes from the lot but there are still more. The above photo shows a pair of Hardcastle’s pipes – the top one a Liverpool and the bottom one an oval shank billiard. Both are stamped Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Selection No. 1 and both are beautiful. I have chosen to work on the first pipe pictured above – the round shank, short stemmed Liverpool.

I have worked on a lot of Hardcastle’s over the years but most of them have been Jack’O London and other lower end ones. These are the first two of this quality I have worked on – both of them are Hardcastle’s Straight Grain pipes. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads HARDCASTLE’S (arched over) STRAIGHT GRAIN. On the underside of the shank it is stamped SELECTION No. 1 and on the right side it reads Made in London [over] England. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident. The taper stem also bears the Hardcastle’s “H” logo on the left side.

Jeff took some photos of the Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Liverpool before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the inner edge and rim top of the bowl. I am hoping that the thick lava coat protected things underneath it from damage to the edges and top. The outer edge appeared to have some significant damage that would need to be dealt with. Cleaning the pipe would make the extent of the damage clear! He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching, calcification and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.    Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable.I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Hardcastle).

Hardcastle was founded in 1908 by Edmund Hardcastle and built itself a good reputation among the numerous British mid-graders. In 1935 Dunhill started to build a factory next door to Hardcastle in Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17. The family owned Hardcastle Pipes Limited sold 49% of its equity to Dunhill In 1936.

Along with closing down its pipe factory in Notting Hill in 1946 Dunhill bought the remaining shares, turning Hardcastle into a 100% Dunhill subsidiary. As members of the Hardcastle family continued as executives in the company’s management Hardcastle retained a certain independence.

This ended in 1967. Dunhill merged Hardcastle with Parker (100% Dunhill as well). The new Parker Hardcastle Limited also absorbed the former Masta Patent Pipe Company. Hardcastle’s Forest Road plant was immediately given up and the production of Hardcastle pipes was shifted to Parker’s nearby St. Andrews Road factory – now consequently called Parker-Hardcastle factory.

In fact this put a definite end to Hardcastle as an own-standing pipe brand, and none other than Edwin Hardcastle, the last of the family executives, spoke frankly and loudly of Hardcastle pipes being degenerated to an inferior Dunhill second.

Today Hardcastle pipes use funneled down bowls that are not deemed suitable to bear the Dunhill or even the Parker name (as well as obtaining briar from other sources).

Timeline

Jack O London (Forrest Rd. factory era) sheet, courtesy Doug Valitchka

  • 1903: Edmund Hardcastle establishes the brand
  • 1936: Family sells 49% of the Hardcastle Pipes Limited shares to Dunhill
  • 1946: Dunhill buys the remaining shares, but the family continues to manage the company
  • 1967: Dunhill merges Hardcastle with Parker. The new Parker-Hardcastle Limited company absorbs the Masta Patent Pipe Company also.
  • After 1967 it is speculated that Hardcastle became the brand for “Parker Seconds”

John Loring states in “The Dunhill Briar Pipe – ‘the patent years and after'” that in the absence of sales receipts, or other items of provenance, Hardcastles cannot be accurately dated. Loring further states that he knows of no way to distinguish the briar source when looking at Hardcastle, Parker, or Parker-Hardcastle pipes. We should not expect to find any actual Dunhill production in these lines, and while one might be there, it is doubtful we will ever be able to determine it [1].

Models & Grades – Family Period

Straight Grain, Supergrain, Leweard, Nut Bruyere, De Luxe, Royal Windsor Sandhewn, Royal Crown, The Crown, Phito Dental, Old Bruyere, Jack O’London, Dental Briar, Phito, Dental, Dryconomy, Drawel, Phithu, Telebirar, Camden, Lightweight, The Table, Dovetail, Dental, Crescent Extra, Lonsdale, Welard De Luxe

With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on a Family Period Pipe and it was the top grade. It appears that it can be dated between 1903-1946 when the company was sold in full to Dunhill. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The briar on the outer edge seems to have swollen and repaired some of the damage during the scrubbing and cleaning procedure. It looked much better than it did in the previous photos.  Jeff soaked the stem in bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was darkened and damaged. The outer rim showed some nicks and chipping. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the shank sides and it was all clear and readable as noted above.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the stem. It is a good looking pipe and very unique.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and the damage on the inner and outer edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner and outer edge to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening on the rim top as well.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.  I was able to give a shine to the bowl and remove some of the surface scratches in the process. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the surface of the vulcanite. I was able to lift the majority of them. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in the rest of the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I used Liquid Paper White to touch up the white stamped “H” on the top of the stem. I rubbed it into the stamp with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a cotton pad and a 1500 grit micromesh pad.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry 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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Hardcastle’s Straight Grain back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is an amazing piece of briar with stunning grain. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is .99ounces /28 grams. This Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Selection No. 1 is another great find in this collection. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

Working on the first of two Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Selection No. 1 Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. He had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange.

You have seen the work we have done on the Dunhills and BBB pipes from the lot but there are still more. The above photo shows a pair of Hardcastle’s pipes – the top one a Liverpool and the bottom one an oval shank billiard. Both are stamped Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Selection No. 1 and both are beautiful. I have chosen to work on the second pipe pictured above – the oval shank billiard.

I have worked on a lot of Hardcastle’s over the years but most of them have been Jack’O London and other lower end ones. These are the first two of this quality I have worked on – both of them are Hardcastle’s Straight Grain pipes. This pipe is stamped on the top of the oval shank and reads HARDCASTLE’S (arched over) STRAIGHT GRAIN. On the underside of the shank it is stamped SELECTION No. 1 [over] Made in London [over] England. The stamping is clear and readable and there is no shape number evident. The oval taper stem also bears the Hardcastle’s “H” logo on the top side.

Jeff took some photos of the Hardcastle’s Straight Grain oval billiard before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the inner edge and rim top of the bowl. I am hoping that the thick lava coat protected things underneath it from damage to the edges and top. Cleaning it would make that clear! He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.    Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of many years. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable. He also captured the white “H” logo on the top of the stem.I turned to Pipedia to try and place this pipe in the timeline of the brand and was able find some helpful information which I have included below (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Hardcastle).

Hardcastle was founded in 1908 by Edmund Hardcastle and built itself a good reputation among the numerous British mid-graders. In 1935 Dunhill started to build a factory next door to Hardcastle in Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17. The family owned Hardcastle Pipes Limited sold 49% of its equity to Dunhill In 1936.

Along with closing down its pipe factory in Notting Hill in 1946 Dunhill bought the remaining shares, turning Hardcastle into a 100% Dunhill subsidiary. As members of the Hardcastle family continued as executives in the company’s management Hardcastle retained a certain independence.

This ended in 1967. Dunhill merged Hardcastle with Parker (100% Dunhill as well). The new Parker Hardcastle Limited also absorbed the former Masta Patent Pipe Company. Hardcastle’s Forest Road plant was immediately given up and the production of Hardcastle pipes was shifted to Parker’s nearby St. Andrews Road factory – now consequently called Parker-Hardcastle factory.

In fact this put a definite end to Hardcastle as an own-standing pipe brand, and none other than Edwin Hardcastle, the last of the family executives, spoke frankly and loudly of Hardcastle pipes being degenerated to an inferior Dunhill second.

Today Hardcastle pipes use funneled down bowls that are not deemed suitable to bear the Dunhill or even the Parker name (as well as obtaining briar from other sources).

Timeline

Jack O London (Forrest Rd. factory era) sheet, courtesy Doug Valitchka

  • 1903: Edmund Hardcastle establishes the brand
  • 1936: Family sells 49% of the Hardcastle Pipes Limited shares to Dunhill
  • 1946: Dunhill buys the remaining shares, but the family continues to manage the company
  • 1967: Dunhill merges Hardcastle with Parker. The new Parker-Hardcastle Limited company absorbs the Masta Patent Pipe Company also.
  • After 1967 it is speculated that Hardcastle became the brand for “Parker Seconds”

John Loring states in “The Dunhill Briar Pipe – ‘the patent years and after'” that in the absence of sales receipts, or other items of provenance, Hardcastles cannot be accurately dated. Loring further states that he knows of no way to distinguish the briar source when looking at Hardcastle, Parker, or Parker-Hardcastle pipes. We should not expect to find any actual Dunhill production in these lines, and while one might be there, it is doubtful we will ever be able to determine it [1].

Models & Grades – Family Period

Straight Grain, Supergrain, Leweard, Nut Bruyere, De Luxe, Royal Windsor Sandhewn, Royal Crown, The Crown, Phito Dental, Old Bruyere, Jack O’London, Dental Briar, Phito, Dental, Dryconomy, Drawel, Phithu, Telebirar, Camden, Lightweight, The Table, Dovetail, Dental, Crescent Extra, Lonsdale, Welard De Luxe

With the information from Pipedia I knew that I was working on a Family Period Pipe and it was the top grade. It appears that it can be dated between 1903-1946 when the company was sold in full to Dunhill. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the tarnish and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and inner edge of the bowl. Jeff soaked the stem in bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim was darkened and lightly damaged. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the shank. The reflection on the silver did not capture the clarity of the stamping on the band but it was all clear and readable as noted above.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the stem. It is a good looking pipe and very unique. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the edges and rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the inner edge to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.  I was able to give a shine to the bowl and remove some of the surface scratches in the process. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the surface of the vulcanite. I was able to lift the majority of them. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in the rest of the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I used Liquid Paper White to touch up the white stamped “H” on the top of the stem. I rubbed it into the stamp with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a cotton pad and a 1500 grit micromesh pad.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry 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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Hardcastle’s Straight Grain back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is an amazing piece of briar with stunning grain. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.02ounces /29 grams. This Hardcastle’s Straight Grain Selection No. 1 is another great find in this collection. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Breathing Life into a Peterson’s of Dublin Killarney 68 Dress Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a Peterson’s Black Dress pipe. This one is a 68 Bent Billiard that has a rich Black finish on the bowl sides and shank. It is also incredibly dirty. It came to us in an auction in Huntington Station, New York, USA. This bent billiard had a band with three rings – a black middle ring with silver (polished aluminum) on either side. The contrast of the black painted finish is in good condition on the sides and shank. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] of Dublin [over] Killarney. It was stamped on the right side with the shape number 68. It was in filthy when he brought it to the table. The finish was dirty but it still was in good condition. There was a heavy cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. There was some damage to the inner edge of the rim at the back of the bowl. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have a lava overflow. It was hard to know what the rim edge and top looked like under the lava. Once it was cleaned I would have a better idea. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.   Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the condition of the finish around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe.    He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. He also took a photo of the band.      I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Killarney line. On page 306 it had the following information.

Killarney (1949-) Entry line with smooth finish and P-Lip mouthpiece. May have either K or P stamped on the mouthpiece; may have aluminum stinger (not to confused wit the tenon-extension tube found on straight System pipes). 1949-c.1957 examples made for the US market may have any of the following COM stamps: MADE IN IRELAND (forming a circle), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND or LONDON MADE over ENGLAND. Some early specimens stamped KILLARNEY over NATURAL (a higher grade) have MADE IN IRELAND (forming a circle). Examples c. 1986-1990 feature a nickel band, which was replaced in ’91 with a shank extension of nickel band with black acrylic inlay. Fishtail mouthpiece from ’86, although P-Lip is sometimes seen. For the current German market, the Killarney is stamped CONNEMARA.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top had some looked quite good and the inner edge had some darkening and damage on the back. It should clean up really well. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button.      I took photos of the stamping on the top and right sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads to remove the residual darkening on top of the finished rim top. Overall it looks much better.    I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.   I set the bowl aside to turn my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and marks on the surface of both side with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I touched up the stamped “P” on the left side of the stem with Liquid Paper White. I pressed it into the stamping with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a soft cloth. It looks much better that when I started.    The stem was in excellent condition so I polished 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. I am excited to finish this Peterson’s of Dublin Killarney 68 Dress Bent Billiard. 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 the rich black paint. Added to that the polished aluminum and acrylic band and the black vulcanite stem give the pipe a sense of class. This smooth Classic Peterson’s Killarney Dress Billiard is nice 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: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 62grams/2.19oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Restoring a Made in Ireland Shamrock 120 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is another smooth finished Peterson’s Bulldog Dublin. This one is a smooth straight Bulldog that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us from an auction in Norway, Maine, USA. The finish is dark and dirty but there is some great grain around the bowl sides and shank. There are fills on the right side of the bowl and nicks around the other sides. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank and read “A PETERSON” [over] “PRODUCT” [over] MADE IN IRELAND (three lines) with the shape number 120 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. It was hard to know what the condition of the rim top and bowl were under that thick lava coat. The nickel band is tarnished. The unstamped stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. The stem does not fit in the shank and will need work to cause it to sit correctly into the shank. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. The stem is lightly oxidized and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.   Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. The fills on the right side are shrunken and obvious.   Jeff took a the heel and underside of the shank to capture the deep scratching and gouging in the briar. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.     I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND9c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

 Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND which narrows the date to between approximately 1945-1965. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name. It has an unmarked/unstamped P-Lip stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top showed some darkening on the top and inner edges around the bowl. There was also a significant burn mark on the back right outer edge of the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button. The stem also did not fit easily into the shank.  I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above.    I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I decided to address the poorly fitting stem first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the diameter of the tenon – particularly to the front. It seemed that the front of the tenon was actually larger than the middle and centre. I needed to work at evening up the diameter of the tenon from the front to the back. It took work but I was able to make it work. I decided to work on the damage to the top of the bowl first. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rim top. I wanted to flatten out the rim top and try to remove some of the burn damage on the back outer edge. I then used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge of the bowl.   Next I turned to address the shrunken fills on the right side of the shank. I also worked on the deep nicks on the left side and the front of the bowl. I filled them in with clear super glue. I steamed out the dents on the heel of the bowl with a hot knife and a damp cloth. Once the glue cured I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surrounding briar. I sanded the burn mark on the outer edge of the rim top and top with the sandpaper and was able to minimize it to some degree.     I sanded the bowl with a medium and fine grit sanding sponges to smooth out the sanded bowl. I forgot to take photos of it. Once it was smooth I stained the bowl with a Light Brown aniline stain. I applied it, flamed it and repeated the process until the coverage was even. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make it more transparent. I was able to blend the stain coat around the bowl and the coverage looked much better.    I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads to further make the stain more transparent and make the grain stand out. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.   I used a black Sharpie pen to mark the fills that stood out. Once the stain dried I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I filled in the deep tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem next to the button edge with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. It was starting to look good. I set the bowl aside and polished 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.  I am excited to finish this Older Peterson’s Shamrock 120 Straight Dublin. 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 straight and flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock 120 Dublin 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: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33grams/1.23oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will soon be on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the store. If you want to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Rebirthing a Peterson’s of Dublin Shannon B11 Bent Brandy Setter


Blog by Steve Laug

Today is another rainy day that is perfect for me to work on pipes. The next pipe I have chosen is a Peterson’s of Dublin Bent Brandy Setter. It is a great looking pipe. It came to us from an auction in Huntington Station, New York, USA. The grime was ground into the smooth finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [arched over] of Dublin [over] Shannon. On the right side of the shank it bore the stamp B.11 which is the shape number. This pipe must have been a favourite as it had been well smoked. There was a moderate cake in the bowl a light overflow of lava and darkening on the rim top. The edge of the bowl looked very good. The vulcanite taper stem had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe.   Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is moderately caked and the smooth rim top and edges have a lava overflow obscuring the inner edge. The photos of the stem show the light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.   Jeff took a photo of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. There were some nicks in the sides but overall it is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above.   From what I could find online on a variety of sites that sell the Shannon line they all seem to agree that it was designed for those who prefer classic shapes free from adornments. The line is among Peterson’s most reserved finishes, defined by a familiar walnut stain and a jet-black acrylic stem. (The stain colour an finish matches the pipe I am working on but this pipe has a vulcanite rather than an acrylic stem.)

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Shannon line. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shannon (1969-c1987) – First offered as an entry-grade line in walnut or black sandblast. In 1969-c1970, offered through Iwan Ries as Shannon Meerschaum Lined, middle-grade sandblast and higher grade brown sandblast finish, P-lip mouthpiece. From 2005 as polished tan-and-black stain, unmounted, P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece with stamped gold P on vulcanite mouthpiece.

There was also a listing on page 299 for Shannon Airport. It read as follows:

For Shannon Airport (c.d1947-c1983) – Stamp on shank of pipes in several grades, indicated that the pipe was designated to be sold by Duty Free Shops at the Shannon Airport.

It is interesting that most of the info on the Shannon pipe and the Shannon Airport pipe seems to be parallel. It also seems to me that Mark and Gary do not make the distinction very clear on the two. They also note that the pipe had a black vulcanite stem with a gold “P” stamped on it as this one does but the pipe I am working on has an acrylic stem as noted in the opening paragraph of this section.

On a previous Shannon Pipe I had written to Mark for some clarity about the pipe I had in my hand. Here was his response then and much is applicable to this pipe.

Hey Steve,

Merry Christmas to you, too, good sir! The SHANNON AIRPORT stamp refers to an agreement K&P had for duty-free export pipes at the airport, which had to have that stamp to qualify for whatever tax-free status they had. SHANNON, on the other hand, was a distinct line of Classic Range pipes. The SHANNON AIRPORT pipes could be any K&P pipe–System, Classic Range, whatever. The SHANNON was strictly a Classic Range, following the guidelines on p. 312.

Hope that helps, and joy to you in this Christmas Season– Mark

I did a Google search for a time frame for the Peterson’s B11 shape and was directed to an article by Mark on his Peterson’s Pipenotes site (https://petersonpipenotes.org/tag/peterson-b11/).

A bent brandy “setter,” like its sibling the B10 it seems to have originally appeared in the high-grade Rosslare Royal Irish line in 2003 and from there appeared in most every Peterson line. There is a bit of confusion about the Rosslare line, as the Royal Irish was not, in the beginning, stamped as such even though it was being advertised that way, and subsequently the line was divided into Rosslare (without the faux spigot, but retaining the sterling band and marmalade acrylic stem) and the Royal Irish (with the faux spigot, a lighter blonde finish and usually with a vulcanite stem instead of the original acrylic).

I knew that I was dealing with a Shannon that was part of the Classic Line made between made after 2003. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and washed it off with warm water to remove the debris and soap. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off once he took it out of the bath. The pipe looked very good when it arrived.     I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looks very good in the photo with some darkening on the top of the rim. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above.   I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has a great grain pattern on the bowl. I polished the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped down the briar between each pad 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 the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.      I touched up the gold “P” stamp with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it on the surface of the stem with a tooth pick and worked it into the stamped P. I let it sit for short time and buffed it off with a soft cloth. The “P” looks significantly better.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished 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.    I am excited to finish this Peterson’s of Dublin Shannon B11 Bent Brandy Setter. 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 buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished smooth rim top and the sandblast bowl looks like with the black acrylic taper stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s Shannon Bent Brandy Sitter feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 59grams/2.05oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that has already been claimed by a good friend. I will be shipping it to him on Tuesday. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Finally an easy restore – a Made in Ireland Peterson’s Kapruf 86 Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

After some great sunny days this past week today is rainy, chilly day in Vancouver. I know in comparison to where many of you live it is not cold but to us it is. It is a great day to stay inside at the work bench listening to a church service and/or pod cast while working on pipes. Of course that will be accompanied by some music. The next pipe I have chosen is another Peterson’s pipe. This one is a petite sandblast Apple that was surprisingly clean. It came to us from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. It was dusty but the sandblasted grain shown through. The contrast of the brown and black stains gave the blast a sense of depth. It was stamped on the flat underside of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Kapruf. To the left of that on the heel was the shape number 86. To the right of the Kapruf stamp it read Made in [over] Ireland. There was a thin cake in the bowl but the rim top looked to be in excellent condition. The outer and inner edges of the bowl were in excellent condition. The stem was lightly oxidized and had some tooth chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is lightly caked and the rim top and edges look very good. The photos of the stem show that it was oxidized and has scratches and tooth chatter on both sides. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the blast that was around this bowl. It is a rugged sandblast that the choice of stain adds depth to on this beautiful bowl.   He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable and reads as noted above.      I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Kapruf line. On page 306 it had the following information.

Kapruf amd “Kapruf” (c.1922-87) Sandblast (hence the name, Kapp-rough) P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, in catalogs from 1940-87. Early documented specimens stamped IRISH over FREE STATE, no Eire specimens documented. Mid-century specimens may be stamped LONDON MADE [over] ENGLAND or MADE IN ENGLAND forming a circle or MADE IN [over] IRELAND, all dating no later than 1970. Those of recent vintage stamped MADE IN THE[over] REPUBLIC [over]OF IRELAND.

I knew that I was working on a KAPRUF that was made no later than 1970 as it is stamped MADE IN IRELAND as noted above. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked great when it arrived in Vancouver.     I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top looks very good and the sandblast is also in great condition. I also took close up photos of the stem to show condition of the surface.     I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint but readable. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has an interesting shallow sandblast on the bowl. The pipe was in excellent condition so I started my work on the bowl by working Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. It was in great condition other than the polishing. I touched up the “P” stamp on the left side of the stem with Liquid Paper and a tooth pick to fill in the stamping. Once it cured I scraped it off with the edge of a tooth pick.   I polished 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. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil to protect the vulcanite.      I am excited to finish this Peterson’s Kapruf 86 Apple, Made in Ireland. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished smooth rim top and the sandblast bowl looks like with the black vulcanite taper stem. This Classic looking Peterson’s Kapruf Sandblast Apple feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 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 26grams/.92oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will soon be on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers section. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.