Tag Archives: Paresh Deshpande article

Resurrecting A Dreary No Name Briar Calabash Shaped Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

While surfing eBay for estate pipes, I came across this one ‘no name’ pipe with a horn stem and beautiful flowing calabash shape. The beautiful curvy shape apart, the pipe had some really hideous (IMHO) rustication on the stummel surface, a semblance of widely spaced scales with thin vertical lines. The perfect shape and spacing of the scales over the stummel surface points to machined and not hand crafted rustications. Notwithstanding the rustications on the stummel, I fell in love with the pipe and had already chalked out a plan for its transformation even before I had won the auction. As I had expected, there was only a couple of other bids and the pipe soon made its way to me. A month and a half later, the pipe had reached me and now it is on my work table.

As mentioned by the seller, the stummel and the stem are devoid of any stampings and there is absolutely no clue for me to establish the provenance of this beautiful pipe. However, the threaded bone tenon, horn stem and round orifice are indicative of this pipe being from the period 1900s to 1950s. It would be interesting if further light could be shed on this pipe as regards its origin, vintage etc by the esteemed readers of rebornpipes.

Initial Visual Inspection
The first thing one can notice is the lovely shape of the pipe and the second is its ultra light weight. The chamber has been neatly reamed and the rim top surface is devoid of any lava overflow. There is severe charring to the inner edge in 12 o’clock direction. There are a couple of minor tooth indentations in the bite zone of the otherwise pristine stem. The stem is overturned to the right and not in alignment with the shank/ stummel. The stummel is dirty, dull and lifeless to look at. Overall, it is in decent condition as can be seen from the pictures below. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe: –          5 3/4 inches.

(b) Bowl height: –                               1.5 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber: –         0.7 inches

(d) Outer diameter of chamber: –        1.3 inches

Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table……
It appears that an attempt has been made to refurbish this pipe, but for reasons best known to the previous restorer, it was abandoned. Save for a little dust and soot, the chamber is nicely reamed back to the bare briar. The chamber walls, though not very thick, are without any heat fissures or pits and that’s a big relief. The rim top surface is peppered with numerous minor hairline scratches. The inner rim edge shows severe charring at 12 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow) and it extends over more than half way towards the outer edge. There is a smooth band of briar wood below and adjoining the outer rim edge. There are no ghost smells in the chamber. Addressing the charred inner rim edge is going to be tricky as the topping required would be extensive to the extent that the profile of the stummel and pipe as a whole, would be considerably altered. I would top the rim surface well within the limits of the smooth briar band below the outer rim edge and up to the point where I reach solid, albeit darkened briar. I would, thereafter polish it and attempt to blend the darkened areas by a applying a dark stain to the rest of the rim top surface. The stummel surface is without any damage. There is dust and dirt embedded in to the rusticated nooks and crannies giving the briar an old and lifeless look. The patterned scaled rustications also do not help in the overall appearance of the stummel. The mortise is threaded into which seat the threaded bone tenon of the stem and appears to be clean. I plan on complete rustication of the stummel and thereafter contrast staining with black and brown stains. The only issue I need to keep in mind is that the walls of the stummel are not very thick and thus I need to be cautious least I end up gouging too deep into the chamber wall. The tapered horn stem is clean with no major issues. The upper stem surface has a couple of minor bite marks at the base of the button and also over the button edge. The lower surface has some minor tooth indentations in the bite zone. The button edges on both the surfaces need to be sharpened. The round orifice and the tenon end are clean.The seating of the stem in to the mortise is overturned to the right by a huge margin and is very loose. This would need something more permanent than the clear nail polish coat application. The following pictures will give the readers a correct perspective of the issue.The Process
The process of transforming this pipe began with cleaning the chamber that had been reamed and cleaned before it reached me. With my fabricated knife, I completely removed the dust and little residual carbon from the walls of the chamber. I further cleaned the walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to completely remove the carbon from the walls and wiped the chamber with a cotton pad and alcohol. The charred surface at the inner rim edge was also gently scraped with the knife and sandpaper to remove the burnt briar till I reached solid briar underneath. Next, I cleaned the mortise and shank with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. At first I just could not get the pipe cleaner to pass through the mortise and out through the draught hole. I then inserted the pipe cleaner through the draught hole and with some efforts; it came out through the mortise dislodging some dried gunk from the air way as it came out. Other than the stuck dried gunk, the mortise was clean and just a couple of pipe cleaners were put to use. I was particularly deliberate in cleaning the threads in the mortise in preparation of further repairs to improve the seating of the threaded tenon, the process for which will be covered subsequently.After I was done with the internal cleaning of the stummel, I cleaned the external surface. I generously applied Murphy’s oil soap with a hard bristled tooth brush and scrubbed the stummel and rim top with the soap. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent and brass wired brush till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. The rim top surface was deliberately cleaned with a Scotch Brite pad to further remove the charred wood from the rim edge. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the scaly and thin lined rustication plainly visible. Truth be told, the stummel now appear more dull and unattractive to my eyes! Once the internals and the external surface of the stummel had been cleaned, I progress to rusticating the stummel. To rusticate, I firmly held the stummel in my left hand and using my right hand began gouging out the briar with my fabricated rusticating tool. The technique is to firmly press the pointed four prongs of the modified Philips screwdriver into the surface, rotate and gouge out the removed chunk of briar. I worked diligently till I was satisfied with the rustications and the appearance of the stummel. I was careful to avoid gouging too deep as the walls are not very thick and I feared that deep rustications will lead to further thinning of the walls and subsequent burn out. As I reviewed the rusticated stummel, the rustication is prominent while the thickness of the wall is not compromised at all. I am very pleased with the progress thus far. I cleaned the stummel surface with a brass wired wheel brush mounted on a handheld rotary tool. While cleaning the surface of all the debris, this rotating brass brush wheel also creates subtle patterns of its own and this adds an additional dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I sanded down the jagged high points in the rustication to a smooth and even surface using a worn out piece of 150 grit sand paper without compromising on the tactile feel to the hand.Next I decided to work on the damage to the rim top and inner rim edge. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the darkened surface is addressed to an acceptable extent without compromising on the stummel profile and the rim top surface is nice, smooth and even. The darkened rim is still evident but the briar in this area is nice and solid and so I shall leave it be. All this while that I was working on the stummel, Abha quietly worked on the stem. She cleaned the stem internals with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. It didn’t take many pipe cleaners to get the stem air way clean.Next she sanded the stem surface with a 320 grit paper. This addressed the minor tooth indentations and bite marks on either surface in the bite zone. She progressively moved to polishing the stem through 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. She finished the stem refurbishing by wet sanding the stem with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. She rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil into the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside to be absorbed into the bone. Next I polished the rim top and the high spots in the rustication using micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl with a moist cloth after each pad to clean the surface. I am happy with the appearance of the stummel at this point in the restoration. The stummel is now ready for a fresh coat of stain.I wanted to highlight the difference between the rusticated and the smooth stummel surface. I decided to stain the rusticated surface with a black dye which would contrast beautifully with the browns of the rim top and the raised knobs of the rustications. I heated the rusticated portion of the stummel surface with my heat gun to open up the pores on the stummel so that the stain is well absorbed. I used Fiebing’s Black Leather dye and liberally applied it over the heated surface, flaming it with a lighter as I went ahead to different self designated zones on the surface. This helps in the setting of the stain in the grain of the briar. I ensured that every inch of the rusticated surface is coated with the dye. I immediately followed it by wiping the raised portions of the rustication with cotton pad and alcohol to lighten the knobs. Once polished, these will contrast with the black of the rest of the stummel surface. I set the stummel aside overnight for the dye to set into the briar surface.  The following day, I again wiped the stummel with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove any excess stain and followed it up by sanding the raised rustication with a folded piece of 320 grit sand paper. This was followed up by careful dry sanding of the entire stummel, especially the raised rustications with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. This lightens and highlights the high spots in the rustications. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips, working it deep into the rustications and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance over the smooth surface with the beautiful rusticated patterns on full display. I further buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush. The only issue that remains unaddressed at this stage is the issue of loose and overturned seating of the stem into the mortise. I had the option of using the clear nail polish to tighten the seating but that would have been a temporary solution as the threaded bone tenon was way too loose fitting in to the mortise and no amount of smoking would have tightened the mortise to the required extent and hence was dropped. I decided on using CA superglue for the purpose. I applied a coat of superglue over the threads of both the mortise and tenon and let it set for a few seconds.  Thereafter, I threaded the tenon in to the mortise till the stem was perfectly aligned and again held it in place for a few seconds for the superglue to take the shape of the threads. I repeated the process once over and achieved a perfectly aligned and snug seating of the stem in to mortise. It was at this juncture that a new issue came to the fore as I was taking pictures of the stem and shank junction under magnification. The green arrows tell the story!Closer inspection revealed that the cause of this gap was the uneven shank end and the tenon was not flush with the stem face (which by the way is also not perfectly shaped). The gap was more on the lower surface than the upper. To address these issues, I firstly topped the shank face on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper till it was even. I was extremely careful while topping so that there was minimum loss of briar as the tenon was already slightly long and I had no desire to increase this gap any further. Secondly, I bridged the gap between the shank face and stem by using a brass band. This also added a nice touch of bling to the entire pipe. I like the way the pipe has shaped up. To complete the restoration, I first mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel that is dedicated for use with Blue Diamond, onto my hand held rotary tool.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and polished the stem. The Blue Diamond compound helps to erase the minor scratches that are left behind even after micromesh polishing cycle and followed it by applying several coats of carnauba wax with a cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to Carnauba Wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and has undergone quite a transformation. With its perfectly balanced weight, a nice full bent shape and light weight, this is a perfect pipe for clenching while working. This is one pipe that will I feel will not disappoint either aesthetically or functionally. In case this beauty calls out to you, please let me know and we shall work out a mutually beneficial deal. I wish to thank our esteemed readers for sparing their valuable time to read through and any input or advice is always welcome. And how can I not thank Abha, my wife for her patient efforts in imparting glass like finish to the stem and rim top surface!

Praying for the safety and well being of you and yours…stay home, stay safe and get your vaccines please.

Refurbishing System Pipe From Savinelli…A “Dry System” # 2101


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Since the time I completed the pipes selected by Karthik, last of the lot was a lattice design meer (Refurbishing Karthik’s Second Selection – A Stacked Lattice Design Meerschaum | rebornpipes), I have completed another 13 odd pipes that had reached me for repairs and restoration. Each had its own set of challenges which were relatively easy to overcome. What was difficult, however, was dealing with the owner’s instructions as to how I should carry out the repairs, which were very frustrating. Just imagine, a beautiful Brakner that required a tenon replacement to maintain its originality and value and the owner wanted me to replace the stem as it would be cheaper and faster!! Of course, the heart of a restorer won over the mind of repairman and I did a tenon replacement.

Moving on, the next pipe that I chose to work on came to me from Steve!! SURPRISED? Well, the truth is that I was on a lookout for a Savinelli Dry System pipe as I was keen to try one and experience the difference between the Pete System pipe and the Savinelli System pipe. Steve and Jeff had been on a road cum pipe hunting trip and had come up with a rich haul of some cool pipes. We worked out a mutually beneficial deal and just when Steve was to send the parcel, COVID happened….. A wait of more than a year and the parcel with selected pipes reached me when I was under shifting to present location. Another wait of settling down period and the pipe finally made its way to my work table.

I love classic shaped pipes and this one has a classic Billiard shape with a substantial sized chamber and thick walls. Save for a bald patch that is seen at the lower half over the right side of the stummel, the stummel boasts of plenty of Bird’s eye and cross grain across the surface. It is stamped on the left side over the shank as arched “SAVINELLI” over “DRY” over reverse arched “SYSTEM” forming the shape of a rugby ball. The right side of the shank bears the shape code # 2101 over the COM stamp “ITALY” towards the bowl while the Savinelli trademark “S” in shield is to the left of the shape code towards the ferrule end. The nickel ferrule is stamped on the left as “SAVINELLI” in capital letters. Letter “S” adorns the top face of the saddle of the vulcanite stem. The stampings are all crisp and easily discernible. I searched rebornpipes to see if I could find any information on this pipe, as I invariably always do, to save time in digging out information about the brand. And true enough, my friend Dal Stanton, aka The Pipe Steward, had worked on a Dry System pipe from Savinelli, albeit a sandblasted one. The research done by Dal is always very detailed and comprehensive to an extent that there is hardly any information that he has missed out. To avoid the proverbial reinvention of the wheel, I have included the link here for those interested in knowing more about this offering from Savinelli (and a big thank you to Dal goes without saying!)

Recommissioning a Smart Savinelli Dry System 3621 Bent Dublin | rebornpipes

With a better understanding of this line from Savinelli, I move ahead with my visual inspection of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
The first thing that you notice is the size and heft of the pipe in hand; it’s a lot of pipe for sure! The chamber walls are nice and thick with a thin layer of cake in the chamber. The rim top surface has thick layer of lava overflow, which given the layer of cake in the chamber is mystifying. The flow of air through the pipe is not very smooth and full. The interestingly grained stummel surface is covered in dirt, dust and grime with a number of dents and dings signifying extensive and uncared for usage. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with damage to the button and in the bite zone. The following pictures will give the readers a rough idea to the general condition of the pipe. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe: –          6 inches.

(b) Bowl height: –                               1.9 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber: –         0.7 inches

(d) Outer diameter of chamber: –        1.3 inches

Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The chamber has a thin crust of carbon over the chamber walls suggesting that the chamber had been reamed in the recent past. The chamber walls are sans any damage and has years of smoke left in it. However, the thick layer of lava crust over the rim top surface has me surprised as it is an indicator of heavy usage while the chamber is neatly reamed! Through the lava crust, suspected charring to the inner rim edge is observed in the 12 and 6 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). A number of dents are visible over the rim top surface (encircled in green), probably a result of knocking against a hard surface edge. The exact extent of damage and the condition of the rim surface will be apparent once the lava crust is completely eliminated from the top surface. The geometry of the pipe is spot on with the draught aperture in dead center and at the bottom of the chamber and that makes me believe that it should smoke smoothly. The ghost smells of the previous tobacco is not very strong and should be completely eliminated once the cake has been removed and the shank internals are thoroughly cleaned. The substantial briar estate is sans any fills and boasts of beautiful Bird’s eye grain to the sides and cross grain to the front and aft of the stummel. The only sore spot over the entire stummel surface is the bald patch that is seen to the right bottom portion. There are numerous dents/ dings over the surface (encircled in pastel blue); a testimony of all the falls this pipe has endured during its existence. The surface is mired in grime and dirt and appears dull and lackluster. The well and mortise is not very dirty and should clean up easily. The nickel ferrule has absolutely no damage but is oxidized with age. This should clean up nicely. The high quality vulcanite stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears dirty green in color! Some minor tooth chatter and deep bite marks are seen on either surfaces of the stem in the bite zone. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The upper surface edge of the large horizontal slot appears damaged, extent of which can be ascertained after the clogged slot has been cleaned up. The lip edge on both sides has bite marks and would need to be reconstructed and reshaped. The wide tenon that houses a 6mm Balsa filter has accumulated oils and tars that have dried out on the inside. The bite zone has calcium deposits which will have to be cleaned. The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by first reaming the chamber with size 2 head of a PipNet reamer followed by scraping with my fabricated knife to remove the carbon deposits. I scraped off the crusted lava from the rim surface with the fabricated knife. Once the cake was scraped back to the bare briar, I used a 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are in pristine condition. The char to the inner rim edge in the 12 o’clock direction is severe and would need to be addressed. The smells from the chamber have greatly reduced. The walls are nice and stout and should provide a cool smoke. The dents/ dings to the rim surface are now amply evident and the best way to address this would be to top the surface.This was followed by cleaning the mortise with pipe cleaners and q-tips dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my dental tool to remove the dried oils and tars. The mortise needs further cleaning with anti-oil dish washing detergent and shank brush and will be done once the external surface of the stummel is cleaned. This helps me in saving a heap of pipe cleaners, which is a very precious commodity here in India.Next, I cleaned out the stem internals. I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the stem air way. Unfortunately the pipe cleaner couldn’t pass through completely. I realized that the large slot on the upper surface was clogged and the airway compressed due to tooth indentation. Using a dental tool, I tried prying out the blockage from the slot and realized that there was broken edge of the slot that was glued back and the reason for the blockage. With a bit of effort and lots of care, the broken piece was removed. I would now have to rebuild the top surface of the large horizontal slot. I would later try to open the airway by heating and thus expanding the compressed area with the flame of a lighter.I sanded the entire stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper in preparation for subjecting it to the deoxidizer solution treatment. It has been our experience that the deoxidizer solution works most efficiently in removing oxidation when a stem has been sanded prior to immersion in the solution. I immersed the stem in the deoxidizer solution developed by Mark and set it aside overnight for the solution to do its intended job.The next step was to clean the exterior surface of the stummel. I generously applied Murphy’s oil soap with a hard bristled tooth brush and scrubbed the stummel and rim top with the soap. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the rim top with a piece of Scotch Brite pad and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the intricate grain patterns on full display. The brown hues of the rest of the stummel contrast beautifully with the black of the briar grains. These contrasting hues will be further accentuated once the briar is rehydrated and rejuvenated using the balm and subsequent wax polishing. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The ghosting is completely eliminated and the pipe now smells fresh and clean.Staying with the stummel, I decided to address the issues with the rim top surface. The first issue to be addressed was the numerous dents and dings over the rim top. I rotated the rim top on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking ever so frequently for the progress being made. Once, I was satisfied that the rim top was an even and smooth surface, I stopped. This topping also helped in reducing the charred surface over the inner rim edge. Here is how the rim top appeared at this stage in restoration.The charring to the inner rim in 12 o’clock direction was still evident, albeit greatly reduced and lent the chamber an out of round appearance. To correct this, I created a bevel to the inner edge with a 220 grit sand paper.The third issue with the stummel was that of the numerous dents and dings over the surface which I have marked over the stummel. I steamed out all these dents and dings by heating my fabricated knife on a candle and placing it on a wet towel covering the dents. The generated steam expands the wood fibers and fills the dents up to, or as close as possible to the surface. The steam leaves behind a discolored surface as compared to the rest of the stummel surface. To address this issue and also to even out and match the raised dings with the rest of the surface, I sanded the entire stummel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. This also evened out the other minor scratches and dings from the surface. I set the stummel aside and turned to address the stem repairs. I removed the stem from the deoxidizer solution and scrubbed it with a Scotch Brite pad followed by a 0000 grade steel wool scrub. This helps to remove the oxidation that is raised to the surface by the solution. Patches of deep seated oxidation over the stem surface could still be seen as dirty brownish green color and would be addressed by subjecting the stem to further sanding by progressively higher grit sand papers.Next, I used a 220 grit sand paper to sand the stem and removed all the oxidation from the surface. Using a lighter, I flamed the surface of the stem. This helped in raising some of the tooth chatter and bite compression from the slot to the surface as vulcanite has a property to regain its original shape on heating. I wiped the stem with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton swab. This cleaned up the stem surface while removing the loosened oxidation.I reconstructed the broken slot end with a filling of CA superglue and activated charcoal after I had inserted a folded plastic coated visiting card. This prevented the fill from seeping in to the air way and clogging it once it had cured. I set the stem aside for the fill to harden before I could proceed with the sanding, shaping and polishing of the stem. While I worked the stem, Abha polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. She polished the freshly topped rim surface to a nice luster, wiping the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. She massaged a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” with her fingers into the briar. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!!! She let the balm sit on the surface to be absorbed in to the briar for about 20 minutes. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar. She polished off the balm with a soft cloth to a lovely shine. I am surprised that the rim top surface has the same deep brown coloration as the rest of the stummel surface and that the use of a stain pen was not required. With the stummel rejuvenation almost complete, save for the final wax polish, I worked the stem. The fills had cured and with a flat head needle file, I worked on the fill till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. Even the best of my efforts at the repairs, these did not blend in to the rest of the stem surface and can be noticed with a keen eye. There are stems which do not take to repairs easily and seamlessly and this definitely is one of those.To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 grit sandpapers and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. At the end of micromesh cycle, I polished the stem with “Before and After Fine & Extra Fine” paste. The finished stem is shown below.This now gets me to that part of the process where I get to savor the fruits of our labor until this point. The final polishing with Blue Diamond and Carnauba wax!

I began the final polishing cycle by mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buff using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe is as shown below 🙂 P.S. I enjoyed working on this pipe alongside my wife, Abha. Her expertise and dedication in polishing the stummel and stem lends a finish that I always seek in all my restorations. And not to forget her editing of the write up to eliminate all the spelling and grammatical errors!

Well, as for this handsome pipe, I am not very sure if I want to hold on to it as since receiving this Savinelli System pipe from Steve, I have acquired another similar pipe with a Cumberland stem. Do let me know if this pipe interests you and we can take it further from thereon.

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up while also praying for the health and safety of entire mankind. Stay home…stay safe!!

Refurbishing Karthik’s Second Selection – A Stacked Lattice Design Meerschaum


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The second pipe that was selected by Karthik was this Meerschaum pipe that came to me in a lot of 40 pipes that Abha and I had purchased on Etsy in October 2019. The pipes in this lot that came to us were in a very sorry state of condition. All or rather 90% of the pipes had seen very heavy use and almost negligible care. Barring a few, none of the pipes attracted any attention at first glance. However, beneath all the grime and sorry condition that the pipes were in, as my friend Dal Stanton aka The Pipe Steward always says, each had great potential. There was something about this meerschaum pipe that called out to Karthik and it is now on my work table.

In November of 2020, I had restored the third pipe from this lot, a Meerschaum lined Orlik pipe that posed intimidating challenges during the restoration process. However, Dal and Steve helped me save this beautiful pipe. Given below is the link to the write up for those desirous to know; A Second Inning For A Meerschaum Lined Orlik Bent Brandy | rebornpipes

This then, is the fourth pipe from the lot of 40 and is indicated with a yellow arrow while the Meer lined Orlik is indicated in green.There is no stamping anywhere on either the shank or the stem to help with establishing the provenance of this pipe.

Before proceeding with the restoration of the pipes that were selected by Karthik, I had requested him to introduce himself to all the readers of Reborn pipes as a fellow piper and as one interested in pipe restoration. I am sanguine that we shall soon get to know and see his work. I have reproduced his mail here that I had received.

Hi Paresh sir,

Here’s my intro, hope it’s not too long:

Hello world! I’m Karthik, an engineer in India. I picked up pipe smoking last year as a way of staying off cigarettes, but have since fallen in love with the hobby itself. Living in India, I don’t have easy and immediate access to great pipes. So the idea of buying antiques and restoring them piqued my interest and I stumbled upon Reborn Pipes. As I read through post after post, I happened upon one of Paresh’s posts and both his name and his mention of Pune made me fall over myself in my rush to get in touch with him. I immediately emailed Steve, who graciously put me in touch with Paresh. Since then Paresh has been a great guide in my pipe smoking journey. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to start restoring any pipes myself, but I hope to get to that soon. In the meantime, Paresh generously showed me some of his collection and kept me in mind when he found something of interest. I hope to start down the path of restorations in the near future myself, with his guidance. 

 Regards,

Karthik

Definitely Karthik, together we shall learn and progress further.

With the introductions made, I move on to carry out initial inspection of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
As with the other pipes from this lot, this one is also in a beat up condition. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber with lava overflowing over the rim top surface. The rim top surface itself is badly damaged and is peppered with chips and dings/ dents. The stummel is covered in the grime of overflowing lava, dirt and dust. The perforations of the lattice design are filled with gunk from the lava overflow. A crack on the top surface at the shank end is easily discernible even to the naked eye. The stem airway appears black due to oils and tars but is devoid of any bite marks in the bite zone. Here are a few “Before” pictures of the pipe as it sits on the work table. Detailed Inspection
For me the detailed inspection is a deliberate act of great importance as it helps me understand the issues that needs to be addressed and formulate the sequence of steps in restoration.

The chamber is heavily caked with copious amounts of lava overflowing the rim top and over the stummel surface. The chamber even has remnants of unburned tobacco. The rim top is of a convex shape and is heavily damaged with numerous dents and chips, probably caused due to knocking against a hard surface, the most severe being in the 12 o’clock direction (encircled in red). This damage has resulted in the chamber being out of round and the rim top, uneven. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be ascertained only after the cake has been removed completely; however, no apparent cracks or damage to the stummel surface is seen from the outside. The stummel surface is covered in lava overflow which in turn has attracted a ton of dirt, dust and grime. The stummel surface feels sticky to the touch and appears blotchy due to the patches of grime and dirt. The perforations of the lattice design are filled with gunk from the lava overflow and are damaged / broken in a couple of places (encircled in green). The shank surface too is covered in dirt and grime and is cracked (indicated with red arrows) over the upper surface to boot! Preliminary check with a pipe cleaner revealed that the mortise is ENTIRELY clogged with accumulated oils, tars and remnants of old tobacco. The only silver lining to this stummel is the gorgeous coloration that it has acquired over the years due to heavy smoking but well hidden beneath all the filth over the surface. The following pictures will provide a better visual perspective when compared to words, as to the condition of the stummel. The sordid tale of heavy use and uncared for condition of the stummel and mortise continues with the tapered acrylic variegated stem. The stem airway seems never to have experienced a pipe cleaner passing through it during its entire period of existence to date! It is blocked (can say that with certainty as a pipe cleaner did not pass through even ¼ of an inch from either stem openings) and appears black through the stem surface. The horizontal slot opening and the tenon opening shows heavy accumulation of old dried tars and gunk. The only saving grace is that the bite zone is devoid of any deep tooth indentations and bite marks over the button. Save for some minor superficial scratches, the bite zone is pristine.Overall, this is easily one of the filthiest pipes to be passing over my work table to date, but having said that, this pipe also has great pedigree and stummel coloration to die for, under all that filth.

The Process
I decided to clean the stem first as I knew that it would take eons and tons of elbow grease to get the stem airway spotlessly clean. The first step towards achieving this goal was to get the screw- in tenon separated from the rest of the stem. I soaked the tenon end in isopropyl alcohol for a few minutes and once the dried oils and gunk had loosened, using nose pliers I unscrewed the threaded tenon from the stem. The now- gooey dirty, filthy mess that stared back from the tenon and stem made my stomach churn… I knew that we were in for some a haul on this stem. Here is what the stem and tenon looked like once they were separated.I launched a determined assault on the stem with a thin shank brush and anti-oil dish washing soap with the aim of cleaning the stem airway. Believe you me, the initial efforts in getting the shank brush out through the other end was beyond difficult. It took me the rest of the evening to get the shank brush moving through the airway with reduced resistance, a total of 6-7 hours. The next morning Abha, my wife, took over the cleaning of the stem from where I had left after she was done with her daily morning chores. Where, for a change, I had missed out on taking pictures for my last evening’s efforts, Abha did take a picture to show the gunk that was being cleaned from the stem airway. To further clean the threads at the tenon end of the stem, she placed a cotton ball soaked in lime juice for about 5 hours.While the tenon end of the stem was soaking in lime juice, I decided to clean up the stummel. I first removed the unburned tobacco and followed it by reaming the chamber with smallest head of the PipNet pipe reamer. I was extremely gentle and careful while using the reamer head since the centrifugal force generated by the rotation of the head inside the chamber may break the meerschaum, if the pressure applied is in excess or uneven. I followed it by scraping the walls of the chamber and the heel with my sharp fabricated knife to remove the residual cake. To smooth out the walls and completely rid the chamber of old cake, I sanded the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. It was heartening to note that the chamber walls were in pristine condition. I ran a sharp knife over the rim top surface with just about enough force to remove the lava overflow. It seems that I would have to top the rim surface to make it smooth and even, sacrificing the stummel profile to an extent. By the time I was through with the cleaning of the chamber, the stem had been soaking in the lime juice for about 6 hours since early afternoon and it was my turn to work on cleaning the stem. So I was back at the sink with a shank brush and anti oil dish washing soap as weapons of choice against the stubborn adversary in the form of a filthy stem. A few hours later, as if by magic, the foam turned white and I declared myself a winner! I ran a few pipe cleaners, both hard bristled and regular, to further clean and dry the airway and also clean the threaded end of the stem.I handed over the stem to Abha to clean the horizontal slot and for further sanding and polishing of the stem. Very painstakingly, with a dental tool she cleaned out the entire gunk from the slot end of the stem. It’s been two days that we had been battling the filthy stem and still the minor scratches in the bite zone and sanding/ polishing remains to be addressed!! Not to mention the threaded tenon!While Abha was cleaning the slot end of the stem, I next cleaned the tenon that was equally clogged up. The application of shank brush, anti- oil dish soap and tons of elbow grease spread over three hours cleaned out the tenon airway.Once I was through with the internal cleaning of the tenon, I cleaned the dried oils and tars from the exterior surface of the tenon with a Scotch Brite pad and anti- oil dish washing soap. I was very diligent while cleaning the exterior of the tenon and made sure that all the oils and gunk from the threads of the tenon were thoroughly cleaned. This will ensure smooth seating of the tenon threads into the stem and make its removal and subsequent cleaning a breeze. This piece of information and hint on cleaning is for you Karthik!With the tenon all cleaned up, it was time to clean the mortise and shank internals. Given the state that the stem internals and tenon were in, I had no doubts in my mind as to the condition that the shank internals would be like. And I was not disappointed to say the least. Using hard bristled and regular cleaners dipped in alcohol, I opened up the shank airway. Once the gunk had loosened a bit due to the alcohol, I scraped out the entire gunk with my fabricated curved tool. A few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol passed through the shank again and I was satisfied with the cleaning job. The colored heap of pipe cleaners and the mound of gunk scraped out from the walls of the shank are proof enough of the filth that was in the shank.Now on to cleaning the exterior of the stummel surface! I wiped the exterior of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton pad. For the most stubborn and deep seated gunk, I used a tooth brush with a dab of the oil soap. I used a soft wired brass wired brush to clean the rim top surface. I wiped the stummel surface with a soft moist cotton cloth to rid the stummel of the residual soap and cleaned out each and every perforation of the lattice design on the surface with my sharp and pointed dental tools. It was time consuming and laborious, but an essential part of cleaning the stummel surface. I was tempted a number of times to take the stummel to the sink and give it a thorough rinse under running water, but the fear of the meerschaum (not sure if it was solid block meerschaum or pressed meer) disintegrating in my hands prevented me from doing so. The stummel color is now amply evident and shows huge promise and potential. Micromesh pad polishing cycle and a dab of beeswax will further enhance the appearance of the stummel. While I was battling with cleaning the shank internals and exterior of the stummel, in her corner Abha was unobtrusively and quietly working on sanding and polishing the stem. She sanded the stem surface with 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand papers to eliminate the scratches from the surface of the stem. Progressive use of finer grit sand papers helps in reducing the scratch marks left behind by the coarser grit sand papers. She finished the polishing cycle by going through the entire set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 through to 12000 grit pads. The polished stem looks amazing and should add a dash of sparkle to the entire pipe once the stummel is put through its paces of polishing and waxing. Continuing my battle with the stummel, I topped the rim over a piece of 220 grit sand paper by slowly rotating the rim over the sand paper to address the badly damaged and deformed rim top surface. Though the profile of the stummel was altered to an extent, it was a necessary evil that was inescapable to get the chamber in round and even. Even though the rim top is now clean and even, considerable darkening of the inner rim edge in 6 o’clock direction and to the outer edge in 11 o’clock direction (enclosed in yellow) is prominently visible and would need to be addressed. Also the rim top is thick towards the shank end as compared to the thickness of the rim at the front.To address both the above mentioned issues with the rim top, I created a nice bevel over both the inner and outer rim edges with a piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my fingers. I am pretty happy with the appearance of the entire stummel and the rim top in particular at this point.The only other issue that remained to be addressed before progressing to the polishing of the stummel was that of the deep crack at the shank end. I filled the crack with thick CA superglue and pressed the shank ends closer for a tight and seamless fit with my rubberized pliers. I held the shank end together (for a good 30 minutes!!) till the glue had hardened sufficiently and set it aside to cure overnight. The next afternoon, using a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded away the excess glue to match the shank surface. The repairs are now solid and will be further strengthened by adding a brass ring over the shank end to prevent it from expanding and cracking open again at a later date.With stummel repairs all completed, I handed over the stummel to Abha for her to work her magic in polishing the stummel. She dry sanded the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads preparing it for the beeswax polish.Before I moved ahead with treating the stummel to a beeswax polish, I attached a tight fitting brass ring over the shank end. This brass ring would provide additional structural rigidity to the shank end and prevent the opening of the seams of the crack on the shank end during its subsequent use.During the course of my journey through the wonderful world of pipe restorations, I have restored a few Meerschaums and each had turned out to be a beautiful pipe. However, none was ever treated to a polish using beeswax, not for any other reason but only because I did not and could not get any beeswax here in India. Recently, while surfing Amazon India, I came across slab of pure organic beeswax and promptly purchased it in sufficient quantity to last me for a very long time. To cut the ramblings short, before proceeding with the polishing of the stummel, I read through a number of blogs on Reborn pipes, The Pipe Steward and also the write ups posted by Charles Lemon of Dads Pipes to understand the nuances of the process of applying beeswax over meerschaum pipes. Once I had chalked out the process I would be following within the constraints faced, I proceeded with applying wax over the stummel of one of my personal meer pipes as a test piece.

Firstly, I assembled the equipment and materials that would be needed during the process viz heat gun, paper towels, q-tips and a Katori, a steel container graciously lent by Abha from the kitchen and of course, beeswax. I stuffed the chamber with paper towels and the mortise with a folded pipe cleaner to prevent inadvertent seepage of the melted beeswax into either. Next, I melted a sufficient quantity of beeswax in the katori using my heat gun and thereafter heated the stummel. Using the q- tip, I completely coated the stummel with the wax and continued the application till the surface was saturated and set the stummel aside. Having gained sufficient confidence, I applied the wax to Karthik’s meerschaum pipe and another of my expensive meerschaum pipes setting the three pipes aside for the stummel to absorb the wax. I reheated the stummel with the heat gun a few minutes later and let the excess wax either be absorbed or drip off from the stummel surface. The deep golden brown coloration that the meerschaum has taken is a visual treat, especially on the two older meerschaums. The lattice design pipe has taken on a beautiful color that is to die for, it’s really a beautiful pipe and Karthik has chosen well.I rubbed of the excess wax with a soft cotton cloth and brought a deep shine to the surface with a microfiber cloth. The deep dark chocolaty golden brown coloration to the stummel contrasts splendidly with the shining variegated colorful stem and makes for a better visual treat in person than what is seen in the pictures below. I hope Karthik likes it as much as I did and that he enjoys this pipe for years to come. P.S. – This was the last of the three pipes that Karthik had selected; a Pete System pipe which I had posted earlier, this stack Meerschaum pipe and the third was a chubby Comoy’s Monaco Rhodesian pipe that I had restored a couple of years earlier. These will soon be in the hands of this connoisseur of beautiful pipes and would love to see him smoke them filled with his favorite tobacco.

And yes, I take this opportunity to thank Karthik for seeing the beauty that lay hidden beneath all the dirt and selecting this pipe which otherwise would have been lying around at the bottom of the pile of pipes for restoration. Here is a picture of the three pipes that are on their way to Bangalore…Sincere gratitude to all the readers who have shared this part of my journey in to the world of pipe restoration…Cheers!!

 

Helping A Fellow Piper With His Dream Pipe…A Peterson’s System Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

A very warm Namaste to all the followers of Reborn Pipes! It’s been a while since I posted any write up on rebornpipes.com and those that were posted have been projects which I had worked on prior to December 2020! The main reason being my relocation to a new place of work, numerous quarantine periods, waiting for allotment of house followed by shifting of family from Pune to my place of work, setting up the new house (only to up stake and move to a new place in 2 years!) and amidst these hectic activities, jostle with the kids and Abha, my wife, for a small corner where I could set up my work table. Thus, with everything well settled and having got back to our day to day routine, it was back to restoring pipes! Oh how I missed handling these pieces of art and history!

Through this time, I came to appreciate the reach of Reborn pipes and the yeoman service it provides in getting like minded pipers closer to each other. Now I am saying this because of the first hand experience I had when one fine day, I received a message from Steve that a gentleman piper from India wants to get in touch with me and that he had shared my email address. Soon enough, I received a mail from Karthik and since then our friendship has only been growing. Karthik was keen to start his own restoration work and was especially interested in a Peterson’s System pipe. Now, here in our part of the world, these are very difficult to come by and when they do, the cost is in INR five figures! When I told Karthik that the many Peterson’s System pipes that he read about on Reborn pipes were from my personal collection, I could sense his disappointment. Readers who have been following my write ups are well aware that one of my set goals has been to make available high quality restored pipes at reasonable price to fellow pipers from India and thus began my hunt for a Peterson’s System pipe in a reasonably good condition at an acceptable price point. A couple of months later, Chris from England (I have purchased a number of pipes from him earlier) had a Peterson’s System pipe that ticked all the right boxes and soon the pipe made its way to Pune and Abha, my wife, shared pictures of the received pipe. Karthik was mighty pleased with the way the pipe looked and so was I. Before I could get to work on this pipe, my move came about and the rest I have described above…

I had requested Karthik to introduce himself to all the readers of Reborn pipes and I am sanguine that we shall soon get to know and see his work. I received his mail and have reproduced it below (I have edited a very tiny portion of the mail though! Sorry Karthik, I too am still in the process of learning and hence the edit, hope you understand).

Hi Paresh sir,

Here’s my intro, hope it’s not too long:

Hello world! I’m Karthik, an engineer in India. I picked up pipe smoking last year as a way of staying off cigarettes, but have since fallen in love with the hobby itself. Living in India, I don’t have easy and immediate access to great pipes. So the idea of buying antiques and restoring them piqued my interest and I stumbled upon Reborn Pipes. As I read through post after post, I happened upon one of Paresh’s posts and both his name and his mention of Pune made me fall over myself in my rush to get in touch with him. I immediately emailed Steve, who graciously put me in touch with Paresh. Since then Paresh has been a great guide in my pipe smoking journey. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to start restoring any pipes myself, but I hope to get to that soon. In the meantime, Paresh generously showed me some of his collection and kept me in mind when he found something of interest. I hope to start down the path of restorations in the near future myself, with his guidance. 

Regards,

Karthik

Definitely Karthik, together we shall learn and progress further.

And Now On To Restoring Karthik’s Pipe…
I have researched and worked on a few vintage as well as new Peterson’s and at first glance I knew this pipe to be a new era Peterson’s. The stummel has a spread of mixed grains all around and a nice feel in the hand thanks to its medium sized bowl. It is stamped vertically on the left side of the shank as “PETERSON’S” without a forked ‘P’ over “SYSTEM” over “STANDARD”. The right side of the shank close to the edge of the ferrule bears the COM stamp “MADE IN THE” over “REPUBLIC” over “OF IRELAND” while model/ shape code “# 314” is stamped below the COM stamp. The nickel ferrule bears the trademark Kapp & Peterson’s official logo of “K&P” followed by “PETERSON’S” over the three usual cartouche with first having Shamrock, the second a Prone Fox and lastly a Stone Tower.While dating a Peterson’s pipe, I always fall back to my under mentioned favorite site; http://thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/dating-petersons-pipes.html

I quote from the above site:-

Stamping of Bowl:
During the years of Kapp and Peterson’s business operations, the country of Ireland has undergone several name changes and K&P’s stamping on their pipes reflects these changes. Knowing these changes, a Peterson pipe can be roughly dated and placed in “eras.”

  • The Republic Era is from 1949 until the present. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949. From 1949 to present the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

With the provenance of the pipe thus established, I moved ahead with the initial visual inspection of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber has a thin layer of cake signifying either limited usage or that it had been recently cleaned. The rim top surface has several scratch marks and darkening which would need to be addressed. The inner edge of the rim is charred in 3 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). Nicks and dings are also seen along the outer rim edge (indicated with green arrows) and deep gouges on the right (encircled in yellow). Chamber has strong odors of sweet smelling tobaccos. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber appears solid and also going by the solid feel of the external surface, I do not foresee any serious issues/ surprises with the chamber walls. The stummel surface is clean but appears dull and lackluster. A number of minor dents and scratches are seen over the stummel, notably towards the front, foot and the bottom of the shank. There is not a single fill over the entire stummel surface. The mortise and the sump shows traces of dried out oils and tars. The pipe smells are too strong. The bent P-lip vulcanite stem is in a relatively good condition with light tooth chatter on either surfaces of the stem. The bite zone of the upper surface has deep tooth indentations with the button edge nearly obliterated and bite marks over the upper P- lip portion causing the slot edges to deform. These will need to be rebuilt and sharpened. The lower surface of the P-lip has distinct deep bite marks and the button edge is completely deformed. The stem is heavily oxidized with minor scratches towards the tenon end. The Process
I decided to work the stummel first as I was keen to see how the stummel shaped up and so was Karthik on appreciating the grains on this piece of briar. I carefully and gently scrapped out the thin layer of cake with a sharp knife followed by sanding the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. I checked the chamber walls closely and was happy to note that the walls were pristine and without any issues. With the chamber now clean, I moved ahead with the internal cleaning of the shank and the sump. Using my sharp fabricated knife, I scraped out all the dried tars and gunk from the walls of the mortise. I used q-tips and pipe cleaners with alcohol to clean out the sump and the draught hole. I shall continue deep cleaning of the mortise and the sump when I will clean the internals using salt and alcohol treatment.Next I decided to address the issue of strong ghost smells in the chamber. To eliminate the ghost smells from the pipe, I decided to treat it with salt and alcohol. I packed the sump with cotton and drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner, inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. I tightly packed cotton balls in to the remaining portion of the mortise. Thereafter, I soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber, sump and mortise. I removed the cotton balls and the dirt can be gauged by the appearance and coloration of the cotton balls and the pipe cleaner. With my fabricated knife and dental tools, I spent the next hour scrapping out the entire loosened gunk from the mortise and the sump. I ran pipe cleaners through the mortise and draught hole to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk that was lodged in the draught hole, sump and mortise. The chamber now smelled clean, fresh and looked it too. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. To clean the exterior of the stummel surface, I applied “Briar Cleaner”, a product that has been developed by my friend Mark Hoover, to the external surface of the bowl. It works similar to Murphy’s oil soap and needs to be applied to the stummel surface and set aside for 5- 10 minutes. The product pulls out all the dirt and grime to the surface making further cleaning easy. I am quite happy with this product. I used a hard bristled tooth brush to scrub the stummel with the gel like product, wiped it clean with a moist cloth and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the rim with a piece of Scotch Brite. I thoroughly cleaned the mortise and draught hole with a shank brush. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The clean stummel had revealed a few more scratches which would need to be erased. Once the stummel had dried, aided by the extreme hot weather conditions prevalent here, I addressed the issues of numerous scratches and nicks by sanding the stummel smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The sanding marks that are visible in the pictures below were obliterated once the stummel was subjected to the complete cycle of micromesh sanding and subsequent polishing and waxing. Having addressed the issues of scratches and nicks over the stummel surface, I moved on to address the numerous dents and dings and charred edges over the rim top surface. I topped the rim over a piece of 220 grit sand paper by slowly rotating the rim over the sand paper. I hate to lose briar any more than absolutely necessary and so frequently checked the progress I was making. I was quite pleased with the appearance of the stummel at this stage in restoration.The time I was working on the stummel, my wife Abha was busy cleaning the stem. She cleaned the stem internals with q-tips, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. She further cleaned the stem airway with shank brush and dish washing soap. It feels really nice to have her around to help with the project. Once the stem internals were cleaned up to her exacting standards, she handed me the stem to address the issue of tooth indentations and chatter over the stem surface.The next stem issue to be addressed was that of the damage over the P-lip end of the stem. I heated both the surfaces with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth chatter and bite marks to the surface and sanded the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to even out the surface as well as loosen the oxidation and handed over the stem to Abha for further process. She dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. By next afternoon, the deoxidizer solution had worked its magic. Abha fished the stem out and cleaned it under warm while scrubbing the stem surface with a Scotch-Brite pad. She ran a couple of pipe cleaners through the stem’s airway to completely remove any remnants of the solution.I mixed clear superglue and activated charcoal and applied it over the both button edges, upper P-lip surface and lower surface of the P-lip. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure.Next afternoon, I worked the stem fills which had hardened considerably. With a flat head needle file, I sanded these fills to achieve a rough match. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 320, 400, 600 and finally with a piece of 800 grit sand paper. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite.Next, I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 12000 girt micromesh pads to bring a deep black shine to the vulcanite. I rub a small quantity of extra fine stem polish that I had got from Mark and set it aside to let the balm work its magic. After about 10 minutes, I hand buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth to a nice shine. I rubbed a small quantity of olive oil into the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside.While I worked the stem, Abha polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. She polished the freshly topped rim surface to a nice luster, wiping the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. I am surprised that the rim top surface has the same deep brown coloration as the rest of the stummel surface and that the use of a stain pen was not required.She massaged a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” with her fingers into the briar. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!! She let the balm sit on the surface to be absorbed in to the briar for about 20 minutes. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar. She polished off the balm with a soft cloth to a lovely shine.Now on to the polishing cycle…I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buff using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks beautiful and will soon be on its way for Karthik to enjoy his dream pipe!!Sincere gratitude to all the readers who have shared this part of my journey in to the world of pipe restoration……Cheers!!!

Bringing Back To Life an “Orlik De Luxe # LD 33”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Re-Cap…
While surfing eBay for estate pipe lots, I came across a job lot that contained four estate pipes. The seller had not included any description for the item other than a simple statement that read “The lot is being sold as is. Pictures are part of description” or words to that effect. The worst part was that there were only two pictures that were posted by the seller!! Here are the pictures. I could make out one Orlik with dental stem, a Hardcastle Bulldog, one Comoy’s Lovat, and the last one was unidentifiable but appeared to be fitted with a horn stem. The pipes appeared to be in a decent condition and included some nice brand names. Soon the pipes reached Abha at my home town.

I have restored two pipes from this lot; the first one was the pipe with the horn stem and it turned out to be a gem from an old and reputable maker “Salmon (Barnett) & Gluckstein” from the period 1894 (guesstimated) and the other pipe I refurbished was the Hardcastle “DRAWEL”. Here are the links to both the write ups that were posted on rebornpipes.

Refurbishing an 1894 (?) Hallmarked “S & G” Square Shank Bent Billiard With a Horn Stem | rebornpipes

Refurbishing A Hardcastle’s “Drawal” # 27 | rebornpipes

Returning To The Present…
The 3rd pipe that I selected to work on from this lot is the Orlik Deluxe and is indicated with yellow arrow.The pipe is a classic straight Apple with a saddle vulcanite dental stem and a push-fit tenon. It is a medium sized pipe that oozes good quality and one that is light weight. The pipe has some fantastic mix of flame grains and bird’s eye to boast around the stummel surface and is without a single fill. The briar used to carve this pipe is of decent quality and the construction and finish of the stummel and mouthpiece feels top notch too. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “ORLIK DE LUXE” in a straight line in capital letters over “LONDON MADE” also in capital letters. The right shank panel bears the shape code # LD 33 in the centre. The high quality saddle stem bears the trademark logo “O” atop the saddle as a brass inlay. The stampings are crisp and easily readable and shown below. I had repaired the broken meerschaum lining (my first) on an Orlik, Meerschaum lined bent billiards and had read about the marquee. I remembered the brand to be British that was taken over by Cadogan group in the 1980s. To refresh my memory, I visited pipedia.org. I have reproduced the snippets of relevant information for easy referencing of the esteemed readers.

Orlik – Pipedia

In 1899, a pipe manufacturer was founded in London, Bond Street, by Louis Orlik. L. Orlik Ltd. started to produce high quality pipes for a relatively low price but high service and soon became quite popular. By 1907 they used the name L & A Orlik, which apparently added Louis’s brother, Alfred to the company name. In the first quarter of 1900 they also established in Birmingham. This can be verified by silver hallmarks. In 1980 the company was acquired by Cadogan. Like many of London’s other pipe manufacturers they moved to a new built factory in Southend-on-Sea. As all current brands in the Cadogan group, Orlik was being produced in those factories.

Orlik used the slogan “Smoked by all shrewd judges” “(who are also loved by his hard judge)” with a portrait of a judge wearing a wig. The picture is still used in Denmark for manufacturing of Orlik cigarettes.

An onsite link leads to a detailed and well researched article on Dating Orlik pipes by Michael Lankton and excerpts from the article Talk:Orlik – Pipedia. Give it a read for the details.

  • De Luxe(L)(LX) – molded stems inferior blocks brown finish, lesser grain, some have hand cut stems and some have molded stems, could perhaps depend on date of manufacture with earlier pipes having hand cut stems

The Orlik series proper will be stamped in all caps in a sans serif font on the port side of the shank one of two ways

ORLIK SERIES_NAME
MADE IN ENGLAND

or

ORLIK SERIES_NAME
LONDON MADE

The starboard side of the shank is stamped simply with the series letter and shape number, except on pipes stamped London Made on the port side, in which case in addition to the series letter and shape number Made in England is stamped in a straight line.

Orlik Pipes Shapes Catalog courtesy Yuriy Novikov (link provided below), is a neat catalog that describes the shape 33 as “MEDIUM APPLE”

Orlik_Pipe_Shapes.pdf (pipedia.org)

Thus from the above information and observing the pipe in my hand, it can be safely concluded that this Orlik De luxe # LD 33 is a lower placed series pipe with a molded stem. It is from the pre Cadogan period, that is 1950s to 1970s and that makes it a fairly collectible piece. It is my educated guess that the “D” in LD stands for Dental stem that is seen on this pipe.

Personally speaking, I am in complete agreement with Mr. Michael Lankton when he says that the early Orlik pipes were similar in quality to Dunhill, Loewe, Barling and Comoy’s based on the quality of the pipe that is currently on my work table. Even though this pipe is from the De Luxe series of Orlik, it is anything but of lesser quality!! The briar has some great straight grains on the sides of the stummel and is sans any fills. The pipe feels solid in the hand and the craftsmanship is perfect.

Armed with the information about the provenance of the pipe on my worktable, it was time for me to start the refurbishing of this pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has the classic straight Apple shape with a medium sized bowl. The stummel boasts of some beautiful flame grains on the left side and swirls on the right. The shank is adorned with beautiful straight grains traversing from the shank end towards the bowl. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava, hiding the fantastic grain patterns over the stummel surface. There is not a single fill in the briar which speaks of high quality selection of the briar. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber. The saddle vulcanite dental stem is oxidized with tooth chatter and calcium depositions on either surface in the bite zone. The stem does not seat flush with the shank face. The set of pictures below show the condition of the pipe when it had reached us. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The chamber has an even layer of thick hard cake. The smooth rim top surface is covered in lava overflow, dirt and grime from previous usage. The outer rim edge has suffered a few blows on a hard surface resulting in a few chipped edged surfaces in 12 o’clock direction (encircled in green). The inner edge appears to be charred in 11 o’clock direction with a chipped surface in 5 o’ clock direction (both encircled in pastel blue). The inner rim also shows a few dings and dents (indicated with red arrows), the cumulative effect of which is an out of round appearance to the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The chamber exudes a very strong odor of old tobacco. The draught hole is dead center at the bottom of the chamber and that makes me believe that it should be a great smoke and the thick cake in the chamber lends credence to this observation. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of a burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. Topping the rim surface should address the dents and dings over the rim edges to a great extent, while the remaining damage will be addressed by creating a slight bevel over the rim edge. The reaming and subsequent cleaning of the chamber and mortise should reduce the ghost smells from the chamber. The smooth stummel surface is covered in lava overflow that has attracted a lot of dust and dirt. The dark brown hued briar has taken on a layer of aged patina through which one can make out the beautiful flame and swirl grains that adorn most of the stummel surface and the shank. There are a few very minute dents and dings over the bowl surface probably due to falls and or rough, uncared for handling of the pipe. The briar looks lifeless and bone dry and has taken on dull dark hues. The mortise shows a heavy accumulation of oils, tars and gunk due to which the air flow is not full and smooth. Thorough cleaning of the stummel surface and rinsing it under warm water should highlight the grain patterns. This cleaning will further reveal any other damage to the stummel surface. The dents and dings to the stummel will be addressed to an extent once it is sanded and polished using micromesh pads. The seating of the stem tenon into the mortise is not flush. The most probable reason for this could be the accumulated gunk in the mortise. Thorough cleaning of the mortise should address this issue.The vulcanite saddle dental stem is relatively less oxidized. The bite zone has filing marks on either surface, but more pronounced on the upper extended button. The tenon is smeared in oils and tars and grime and so is the horizontal slot. The molded saddle dental stem bears the trademark inlaid brass logo “O” on the top face of the saddle and would need to be polished. Overall, the stem is in a decent condition and the vulcanite should take on a nice shine readily.The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by first cleaning the stem. I cleaned the internals of the stem with bristled pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. With my fabricated knife, I gently scraped out the dried gunk from the tenon end and the horizontal slot.  I further cleaned out the stem internals with a shank brush and dish washing liquid soap. Once the stem internals were cleaned, I sanded the entire stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper in preparation for dunking the stem into the Before and After Deoxidizer solution.I thereafter, dropped the stem into “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making it’s further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. I usually dunk stems of the pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is indicated with a blue arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak overnight for the solution to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I reamed the chamber with size 2 head of the Castleford reamer. With my fabricated knife, I further scraped the chamber walls to remove the remaining carbon deposits and also scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smoothen out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are in pristine condition with no signs of heat lines/ fissures. The inner rim edge resembles a visual nightmare after the cleaning. The inner edge has suffered extensive damage in 11 o’clock direction, the result of hitting against a hard surface to remove dottle (encircled in yellow). Similar damage is seen over the outer rim edge too and is encircled in blue. This damage to the outer rim edge as well as the inner edge will be addressed to an extent by topping the rim top. The rim top surface itself is peppered with dents/ dings and deep scratches (encircled in green) which will be smoothened by topping. The ghost smells are still very strong and may further reduce after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned.This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and a shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The mortise was a bear to clean and the cleaning will continue when I clean the external surface of the stummel. The old smells of the tobacco are still strong and would need more invasive methods to get rid of these odors.With the bowl internals clean, I moved to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Briar Cleaner, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover, to scrub the stummel and the rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the product to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with  detergent and a hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I diligently cleaned the grooves between the bowl rings that separated the bowl cap from rest of the stummel surface. The stummel surface, including the rim top has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. This cleaning also helped in gauging the extent of topping that would be required to address the damage to the rim edges and rim top surface. I shall subject the chamber to cotton and alcohol treatment to eliminate the ghost smells completely as the smell is still very strong. I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I used cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By the next morning, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The next morning, after I had cleaned the chamber and shank, I removed the stem that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Magic Eraser pad followed by Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. The stem is in pristine condition. The filing marks appear more like denture marks and not file marks per se. These should be easily eliminated when I sand the stem with sand papers and polish with micromesh pads. I sanded the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper till the complete oxidation was eliminated from the stem and saddle portion in particular. I sanded out the scratches in the bite zone using the same grit sand paper. I rubbed a small quantity of EVO into the stem surface to hydrate it. To bring a deep shine to the stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below.I turned my attention to address the damage to the stummel. I next decided to smooth the rim top surface dents/ dings and the charred surface in 11 o’clock direction to the inner rim edge. I topped the rim top surface on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently for the progress being made as I hate to loose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. The darkened inner rim edge can still be seen, though much greatly reduced. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I cleaned the inner edge of the rim top surface to minimize the darkening. This helps to mask and address the minor dents and dings that had remained on the rim edges after topping. I am careful so as not to alter the profile of the stummel by excessive topping or creation of the bevels. I am pretty pleased with the appearance of the rim top and edges at this stage. The following pictures show the progress being made and improvements to the inner and outer rim edges. I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. The minor outer rim damage was repaired to a very large extent and so was the darkening during this process. I really like the look of the stummel at this point in the restoration. The grains and the clean classic lines of this pipe are worthy of appreciation. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works it’s magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the Angle hair and swirl grains with the natural patina of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful in person and is ready to provide years of smoking pleasures to the piper who desires this beauty. If this pipe calls out your name, please feel free to contact me at deshpandeparesh@yahoo.co.in

Big thank you to all the readers who have joined me on this path by reading this write up as I restored and completed this project.

Restoring a Kaywoodie “Standard” # 08 Straight Dublin From Steve’s Grab Box


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Re-Cap…
During one of the many Facetime interactions with Steve, I expressed my anxiety of ‘what after’ I had gone through restoring all of my inherited collection. Also discussed during this interaction was that I would be interested in working on pipes from various makers and with greater variety of repair works to gain more experience and learn new techniques. Since the ‘pipe culture’ in India met its last in the early 1970s, I did not have access to large lots of estate pipes as is available in Europe and USA. Steve suggested that I grab one of the “grab bags” which he had in his store. I requested him to make one from an assortment of pipes that he had to which he agreed. Soon the awaited grab bag along with other pipes that I had liked arrived in my home town and was received by Abha. She sent me this picture of the pipes that were received. The one crossed in red is a Dunhill sitter that is added to my personal collection.There are a total of 15 pipes in the grab bag, each with different shapes, issues and requiring different skill sets to address them. This is exactly what I was looking for and that there are some nice branded ones is like an icing on the cake. This lot included pipes that Jeff, (Steve’s brother who does all the preliminary cleaning of pipes) had cleaned and sent to Steve for further restoration works.

Returning To The Present…
The next pipe on my work table is KAYWOODIE “STANDARD” in a classic Dublin shape from Steve’s grab bag that had been reamed, cleaned and readied for next stage of restoration by Jeff. This pipe is indicated in pastel blue arrow with the numeral 4.This petite ultra lightweight pipe has some beautiful and densely packed cross grains on the front, aft and over the shank surface of the stummel while bird’s eye adorns the sides of the bowl. The stamping of “KAYWOODIE” in capital letters over “STANDARD” in script over “IMPORTED BRIAR” is on the left side of the shank. The right side of the shank bears the shape code “08”. The stem, with its three holed aluminum threaded stinger, bears the Kaywoodie trademark inlaid white Clover Leaf logo on the left side of the stem. The lower surface of the stem is stamped as “J 40” towards the stinger end. The lack of KB & B stamping in clover leaf over the shank surface and the three holed aluminum stinger, points to a later era Kaywoodie pipe. The shape code # 08 finds mention in the 1936 catalog as medium Dublin (indicated by the red arrow) and is conspicuous by its absence in the 1970s. (Refer Kaywoodie – Pipedia)The Standard grade stamp indicates this pipe to be the cheapest offering from Kaywoodie at the time and is described as “the original dry- smoking, pure smoking pipe” in the flyer (indicated by the red tick mark) that was available on pipedia.org. The same has been reproduced below for ease of reference. Collector’s Guide to Kaywoodie Pipes – PipediaThus, the Kaywoodie Standard presently on my work table dates to pre-1970s (not a definitive supposition) but definitely post 1950s when the stinger head size was reduced in diameter and three holes replaced the four holes. In spite of my best efforts, I have not come across any concrete information on the stamp “J 40”. It is my guess that this is the code that would help for replacing the stem by Kaywoodie retail outlets in the event that the original stem is broken by the owner.

Initial Visual Inspection
This grab bag that Steve had sent me contained few pipes that Jeff had already cleaned and sent across to Steve for further restoration. Thus, unfortunately, before condition pictures are not available with me to share with the readers, but the best part is that I get to work on a pipe that Jeff has already worked his magic upon and presented me with a clean pipe. Below are a few pictures of the pipe as I had received it. Detailed Inspection
The chamber is clean and odorless without any trace of the old cake. There is no damage to the inner walls of the chamber. The rim top and the rim edges is where the maximum damage can be seen on this pipe. The rim top has darkened not because of lava overflow, but maybe due to charring, notably between 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). The rim top surface is peppered with numerous scratches, dents and dings (few of them are indicated by indigo arrows) and probably caused due to knocking the rim against a hard surface to remove the dottle. There is significant damage to both the inner and outer edge of the rim all around. The inner rim appears charred along the 12 o’clock direction and is encircled in red. The outer rim damage too is significant with sever chipped surface in 6 o’clock and 8 o’clock directions (encircled in green) and dents/ dings and chipping all along the edge. The draw is smooth, full and open. Simple topping of the bowl on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper should address this issue, however, in addressing this issue, though I absolutely hate it unfortunately, I would be losing some briar estate, a price I am willing to pay to resurrect this beauty. The stummel is clean with some interesting grain pattern that needs to be brought to the fore. There are few minor scratches, dents and dings on the stummel surface. Maybe, sanding and further micromesh polishing will address these dents and scratches. The stummel has a rich golden brown hue to the briar. The shank end of the pipe, including the aluminum spacer, is clean and so is the mortise. The tapered vulcanite stem has a couple of deep tooth indentation and minor tooth chatter on both the upper and lower surface near the button edge in the bite zone. Both upper and lower buttons are worn out and has bite marks. The stem has deep seated oxidation and some amount of calcification is seen in the bite zone. The threaded aluminum stinger tenon is also clean and the seating of the stinger in the shank is flush and perfectly aligned with the shank face. The air way is clear and draw is easy and smooth.The Process
Since Jeff had done the initial cleaning, I straight away get on with addressing the issues as observed during my initial inspection. I decided to start this restoration with stem repairs and cleaning as this takes up the maximum time in the entire restoration process.

I ran a couple of hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol to be sure that the internals of the stem are cleaned out. I sand the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to loosen the oxidation from the surface before dunking the stem in to a solution of “Before and After Deoxidizer”. The initial sanding helps in efficient drawing out of the deeper oxidation. I let the stem soak in the deoxidizer solution overnight. Since I had some time before I called it a day, I decided to address the damage to the outer rim edges. I filled the larger chipped outer rim edge surfaces with a mix of briar dust and super glue. I would need to top the rim surface to address the issue of numerous dings and scratches on the rim top and during this process the briar dust and CA glue fill would also even out to match perfectly with the surrounding surface. I set the stummel aside for the fill to cure overnight. The next morning, I removed the stem that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Magic Eraser pad followed by scotch brite pad. I cleaned the stem airway with a thin shank brush and blew through the airway to completely remove the deoxidizer solution. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem.Next, I filled the tooth indentations in the lower surface with a mix of clear CA superglue and activated charcoal and set it aside to cure. After the glue had partially hardened on the lower surface, likewise, I filled the upper surface tooth marks. Simultaneously, I smeared the button on either surface with the mix of charcoal and superglue and set the stem aside for the mix to harden completely.With the stem fills set aside, I sand the fill on the outer rim edge with a flat head needle file and to further blend the fill with the surrounding briar surface, I sand it with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Next, I top the rim on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to address the issue of uneven rim top surface and the dents and dings on the rim edge (this is a necessary evil). I frequently checked the rim top for the progress made and stopped immediately once I had achieved the desired results. The rim top looks refreshed with no darkening and charring. The rim edge damage has also been addressed to a great extent. I followed up the topping of the rim top with the sanding of the entire stummel surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. This addressed the minor dents and dings on the stummel that I had initially observed and also evened out the entire stummel surface. I was careful around the stampings on the shank.Thereafter, I moved to the next stage of polishing and revitalizing the entire rim top and the stummel. I polished the stummel by wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 grit wet or dry sand paper and followed it up with further wet sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after each wet pad to see the progress and am extremely pleased with the end result. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush.Now that the stummel refurbishing save for final wax polish is completed, I turn my attention back to the stem. A little bit of filing with a flat head needle file followed by sanding with folded pieces of 220 and 600 grit sand papers got the stem fills all matched up with the stem surface. The buttons and the button edges are now even and crisp. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and set the stem aside to dry.To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the stummel and the stem. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe, with the natural finish and beautiful grains on the stummel contrasting with the shiny black stem looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs speak for themselves.P.S. The pipe has turned out beautiful, far more luxurious and vibrant in person, than it appears in pictures. The petite size and light weight makes it ideal for a coffee break smoke or enjoying your favorite blend while you are busy at your work table. If this pipe calls out to you, please let me know at deshpandeparesh@yahoo.co.in.

Thank you all for being a part of this journey with me. Praying for the health and safety of you and your loved ones in these troubled times. Stay home, light a pipe and be safe!

A Simple Restoration Of An Inherited BBB “Thorneycroft” # 637 Sandblast Billiard


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I love my classic shaped pipes and one such pipe from my inheritance is now on my work table. It’s a classic tapered stem Billiard with a deep scraggy sandblasted stummel. The moment I picked it up, I knew this could be a Barling’s “Fossil” or some English brand. The sandblast, quality of the stem and the briar all oozed quality. The stem logo of BBB in brass rhombus did bring an inadvertent smile on my face. I love this brand and have a few BBBs in my collection.

The pipe is a classic Billiard shaped sitter with deep craggy sandblast that feels tactile in the hand. It has a medium sized bowl and is very light in weight. This pipe is stamped on the bottom smooth surface of the shank with shape code #637 at the foot followed by “BBB” in a rhombus with “OWN MAKE” on either side in block capital letters. Further towards the shank end on the same smooth surface, it is stamped as “THORNEYCROFT” over “LONDON ENGLAND”. The high quality vulcanite tapered stem bears the trademark inlaid BBB brass diamond logo on the upper surface of the stem. The stampings are all crisp and clear.  If you are interested to know anything about BBB pipes, look no further than rebornpipes.com!! This is Steve’s favorite brand and he has been researching and collecting BBB pipes for decades. I visited rebornpipes and sure enough there was a write up on “History of BBB Pipes”! Here is the link to the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2012/08/05/history-of-bbb-pipes/).

I had worked on a BBB 2 Star “SPECIAL” pipe and had extensively read about the brand and its various lines through the years which also helped in dating BBB pipes. Here is the link to the write up with a request to the esteemed Readers to refer to the write up for detailed information on the brand and dating of BBB pipes (Restoring a 2 Star BBB “Special” # 395 | rebornpipes).

The information reproduced below places the pipe to be made between 1950 and 1960.
During the middle of 1950s and 1960s, BBB lines were comparatively stable. The top pipes of the line were stamped Own Make “Rare Grain”, followed by Own Make “Virgin”, Own Make “Walnut” and finally Own Make “Thorneycroft”.

Armed with the above information, I moved ahead with initial inspection of the pipe…

Initial Visual Inspection
The deeply sandblasted saddle stem sitter is covered in dirt, dust and grime. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber and the mortise shows accumulation of dried old oils and tars. The tapered vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized and the bite zone is peppered with minor tooth chatter on both the surfaces. There are a few deep bite marks on either surface in the bite zone with what appears to be a cracked button edge on the lower surface. Here is how the pipe appears as it sits on my work table. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The bowl is nicely rounded with a chamber depth of about 2 inches. The chamber has a layer of thick cake that is slightly thicker in the bottom half of the chamber. The sandblasted rim top surface has worn out (or not?) and now appears shallow blasted/smooth in most places. The inner and outer rim is in pristine condition, save for suspected minor darkening of the inner edge in 1 o’clock direction. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The chamber has strong smells from the old tobaccos. The draught hole is in center at the bottom of the chamber with a nice wide open airway and this makes me believe that it should smoke smooth to the last morsel of tobacco in the chamber. The stummel, all around appears solid to the touch and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. I may have to resort to the salt and alcohol treatment of the chamber if the ghost smells do not reduce after the cake has been removed and the shank internals are thoroughly cleaned.The crevices in the sandblasted surface are filled with dust, dirt and grime from all the years of smoking and storage. The fact that the grooved patterns are dusty and filled with dirt is accentuated more due to the brown and black hues on the stummel and the shank. The briar looks lifeless and bone dry and has taken on dirty grey hues. The mortise shows accumulation of oils, tars and gunk and the air flow is not full and smooth. I need to be careful while cleaning the shank bottom surface to preserve the stampings on this pipe. Thorough cleaning and rising under warm water of the stummel surface should highlight the grain patterns, depth and cragginess of the sandblast. The high quality straight vulcanite stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears brownish green in color. Some minor tooth chatter and deep bite marks are seen on both surfaces of the stem in the bite zone along with minor calcium deposits. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The lip edge on both sides has minor bite marks and would need to be reconstructed and reshaped. A crack across the button edge on the lower surface is seen (encircled in pastel blue) and would need to be addressed. The tenon has accumulated ash and oils/ tars that have dried out on the inside as well as on the outside. The horizontal slot has tar deposits which will have to be cleaned. The tooth chatter and the bite marks will be raised to the surface by heating and the deeper tooth indentations will be filled using charcoal and CA superglue mix.The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by first reaming the chamber with size 1, 2 and 3 Castleford reamer heads. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are sans any damage. The smells from the chamber are greatly reduced and would be completely eliminated once the shank internals are thoroughly cleaned.This was followed by cleaning the mortise pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. Though this further eliminated trace of old smells from previous usage, I will continue further cleaning of the shank internals while cleaning the external surface of the stummel. Next, I moved to clean the exterior of the stummel. I generously applied “Briar Cleaner”, a product that has been developed by my friend Mark Hoover, to the external surface of the bowl and the sandblasted rim top surface. It works similar to Murphy’s oil soap and needs to be applied to the stummel surface and set aside for 5-10 minutes. The product pulls out all the dirt and grime to the surface making further cleaning easy. I am quite happy with this product. I used a hard bristled tooth brush to scrub the stummel and rim top with the solution. After the scrub with Briar cleaner solution, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the sandblasted rim top with hard bristled toothbrush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the intricate sandblast patterns on full display. The shank internals too are nice and clean. The brown hues of the raised portions of the sandblast contrast beautifully with the black of the rest of the stummel. These brown hues will darken considerably once the stummel briar is rehydrated and rejuvenated using the balm and subsequent wax polishing. The rim top surface has cleaned up nicely to reveal pristine inner and outer rim edges, though lighter in color as compared with the rest of the stummel surface. The ghost smells are completely eliminated at this stage. I began the stem repairs by first cleaning the internals of the stem with bristled pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. I scraped out the dried oils and tars from the tenon end with my fabricated knife and also removed the calcified deposits from the bite zone. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to remove the surface oxidation. It has been our (Abha and my) experience that sanding a stem before dunking it in to the deoxidizer solution helps in bringing the deep seated oxidation to the surface which in turn makes further cleaning a breeze with fantastic results.I dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making it’s further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. I usually dunk stems of 4-5 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked by a yellow arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight to do its work.The next morning, Abha removed the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. This now gives a clearer picture of the extent of crack as can be seen in the pictures below. These will definitely require a fill.I used a 220 grit sand paper to sand the stem and remove all the oxidation that was raised to the surface. This step further reduced the tooth chatter and bite marks present on the stem. I wiped the stem with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton swab. This helps in cleaning the stem surface while removing the loosened oxidation. Using a lighter, I flamed the surface of the stem. This helped in raising some of the tooth chatter and bite marks to the surface as vulcanite has a property to regain it’s original shape on heating. I addressed the crack over the lower button and the button edges by filling them up with a mix of activated charcoal and CA superglue. I applied a slightly thick layer over the lip which I will later sanded down to create a defined edge. Once I had applied the mix, I set it aside to cure overnight. My apologies for bungling on taking pictures, but the readers will get a picture of the process in general. While the stem repairs were curing, I rubbed generous quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the stummel surface with my finger tips, working it deep into the sandblasts and let it rest for a few minutes. I rubbed the balm into the sandblasted rim top surface too. The balm almost immediately works it’s magic and the briar now has a vibrant appearance with the beautiful sandblast patterns displayed in their complete splendor. The contrast of the dark browns of the raised sandblast with the dark black of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. As I was taking close up pictures of the stummel, I observed a webbing of very minute heat lines to the front of the chamber wall (indicated by yellow arrows). Though not an issue if the pipe is smoked gently, it may lead to a burnout subsequently in the hands of an enthusiastic smoker. I shall give a thin protective bowl coating of yogurt and activated charcoal. This will firstly prevent the burning tobacco coming in direct contact with the briar and secondly aid in faster cake build up.  I addressed this issue by mixing activated charcoal and plain yogurt to a thicker consistency, just enough that it would spread easily and applied it evenly all along the chamber walls after inserting a folded pipe cleaner through the draught hole to keep it open. Once dry and set, this will not only protect the walls but also aid in faster buildup of cake.With the stummel rejuvenation almost complete, save for the final wax polish, I worked the stem. The fill had cured and with a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 grit sandpapers and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below.To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further and remove any residual wax from in between the sandblasts. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. I only wish it could share with me the stories of its past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe just keep admiring it !! The finished pipe is as shown below. P.S. – A few weeks earlier, there was another pipe that I had restored (WALLY FRANK Ltd “BLACKTHORNE”) and one which required a bowl coat of activated charcoal and yogurt. It was while I coated the chamber walls of this pipe that I coated the walls of the chamber of BLACKTHORNE pipe to protect them by helping in a speedy formation of cake. Apologies for the missing pictures though…

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and praying for the health and safety of you and your loved ones. Stay home…stay safe!!

Refurbishing A Hardcastle’s “Drawal” # 27


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

While surfing eBay for estate pipe lots, I came across a job lot that contained four estate pipes. The seller had not included any description for the item other than a simple statement that read “The lot is being sold as is. Pictures are part of description” or words to that effect. The worst part was that there were only two pictures that were posted by the seller!! Here are the pictures that were posted by the seller… I could make out one Orlik with dental stem, a Hardcastle’s Bulldog, one Comoy’s Lovat, and the last one was unidentifiable but appeared to be fitted with a horn stem. The pipes appeared to be in a decent condition and included some nice brand names. Soon the pipes reached Abha at my home town. I had restored the pipe with horn stem and it turned out to be a gem from an old and reputable maker “Salmon (Barnett) & Gluckstein” from the period 1894 (guesstimated). Here is the link to the write up that was posted on rebornpipes;

Refurbishing an 1894 (?) Hallmarked “S & G” Square Shank Bent Billiard With a Horn Stem | rebornpipes

The 2nd pipe that I selected to work on from this lot is the Hardcastle’s Bulldog and is indicated with indigo blue arrow.The pipe is a classic Bent Bulldog with a diamond shank and a saddle vulcanite stem with a push-fit tenon. It is a medium sized pipe with a nice hand feel and a nice heft to it. The pipe may not have fantastic flame grains to boast, but has a beautiful mix of bird’s eye and straight grains scattered around the stummel surface and is without a single fill. The briar piece used to carve this pipe is of top quality and the construction and finish of the stummel and mouthpiece feels top notch too. It is stamped on the left shank panel as underlined “HARDCASTLE’S” in an arch in capital letters over “BRITISH MADE” over “DRAWEL” in an opposite arch forming a rugby ball shaped stamping. The right shank panel bears the shape code # 27 in the centre. The high quality saddle stem bears the trademark logo “H” on the left face of the saddle. The stampings are crisp and easily readable and shown below.I had cleaned up a Hardcastle’s Royal Windsor, a quaint lightweight sandblasted straight billiards with ring grains all round even before I started posting my work on rebornpipes and had read about the marquee. I remembered the brand to be British that was taken over by Dunhill and eventually relegated to being a seconds brand to even Parker, also taken over by Dunhill. To refresh my memory and relive the painful demise of a classic quality pipe maker from Britain, I visited pipedia.org. I have reproduced the snippets of relevant information for easy referencing of the esteemed readers.

Hardcastle – Pipedia

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

  • 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.

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

Thus from the above, it is evident that the pipe on my work table is from the family era and made prior to 1967 when Hardcastle became the brand for “Parker Seconds”.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has the classic Bent Bulldog shape with a diamond shank and a medium sized bowl. The stummel boasts of some beautiful bird’s eye and cross grains all over the bowl and shank. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava. There is not a single fill in the briar which speaks of high quality selection of the briar. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber. The saddle vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized with tooth chatter and light tooth indentations on either surface in the bite zone. The stem does not seat flush with the shank face. The set of pictures below shows the condition of the pipe when it had reached us. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The chamber has an even layer of thick cake. The smooth rim top surface shows a couple of dents/ dings (indicated with blue arrows) and is covered in lava overflow, dirt and grime from previous usage. The outer rim edge has a charred spot in 10 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow) and has suffered a few blows on a hard surface resulting in a few chipped edge surfaces in 12 o’ clock direction (encircled in green). The inner edge appears to be in decent condition. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The chamber exudes a very strong odor of old tobacco. The draught hole is dead center at the bottom of the chamber and that makes me believe that it should be a great smoke and the thick cake in the chamber lends credence to this observation. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of a burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. To address the damage to outer rim edge, I shall create a slight bevel over the rim edge. Topping the rim surface should address the dents and dings over the rim top surface. The reaming and subsequent cleaning of the chamber and mortise should reduce the ghost smells from the chamber.The smooth stummel surface is covered in lava overflow that has attracted a lot of dust and dirt. The natural hued briar has taken on a layer of aged patina through which one can make out the beautiful cross grains that adorns most of the stummel surface and Bird’s eye grain at the foot and bottom of the shank. There are a few dents and chipped areas over the bowl cap (encircled in yellow), probably due to falls and or rough, uncared for handling of the pipe. Close observation of the stummel surface under magnification has revealed three very minute fills, two at the front of the bowl and one on the shank (indicated by red arrows) in the entire stummel. The double ring that separates the cap from the rest of the bowl is uneven but intact; however, it is filled with dust, dirt and grime. The briar looks lifeless and bone dry and has taken on dull dark hues. The mortise shows heavy accumulation of oils, tars and gunk and due to which the air flow is not full and smooth. Thorough cleaning of the stummel surface and rinsing it under warm water should highlight the grain patterns. This cleaning will further reveal any other damage to the stummel surface. In all probability, I shall let the minor fills in the stummel surface remain and avoid the process of refreshing these fills. The dents and dings to the bowl cap and the rest of the stummel will be addressed to an extent once the stummel is sanded and polished using micromesh pads.

The seating of the stem tenon into the mortise is not flush. The most probable reason for this could be the accumulated gunk in the mortise. Thorough cleaning of the mortise should address this issue. The minor fill in the shank described above, is indicated with a red arrow. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized. The bite zone has tooth chatter on either surface. The lower stem surface has deep tooth indentation that, in all probability, would need to be filled. The button edges on both surfaces have minor bite marks and would need to be sharpened. The tenon is smeared in oils and tars and grime and so is the horizontal slot. The high quality saddle stem bears the trademark logo “H” on the left face of the saddle and would need to be refreshed/ highlighted. Overall, the stem is in a decent condition and the high quality of the vulcanite means that it should take on a nice shine readily.The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by reaming the chamber with size 1 and 2 heads of the` Castleford reamer. With my fabricated knife, I further scraped the chamber walls to remove the remaining carbon deposits and also scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are in pristine condition with no signs of heat lines/ fissures. The beveled inner rim edge shows signs of minor charring in the 10 ‘O’ clock direction which will be addressed by light sanding along the beveled edge. This charring further extends to the outer rim edge as well and will be addressed while topping the rim top. The rim top surface itself is peppered with dents/ dings and scratches which will be smoothed by topping. The problem of the chipped outer edge will be resolved during the topping of rim surface followed by creating a slight bevel, if need be. The ghost smells are still very strong and may further reduce after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned. This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The mortise was a bear to clean and the heap of pipe cleaners, q-tips that were used and the pile of scraped out gunk is an indication of how dirty the shank internals were. The old smells of the tobacco are still strong and would need more invasive methods to get rid of these odors.With the bowl internals clean, I moved to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Briar Cleaner, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover, to scrub the stummel and rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the product to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I diligently cleaned the grooves between the bowl rings that separated the bowl cap from rest of the stummel surface. The stummel surface, including the rim top has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. The lower edge of the bowl cap has chipped areas that were exposed during the cleaning of the grooves. I shall try to even it out by sanding in between the grooves with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The three very small fills that I had noticed under magnification, are all solid and refreshing them is not required. I shall subject the chamber to cotton and alcohol treatment to eliminate the ghost smells completely as the smell is still very strong. Next I cleaned the internals of the stem with bristled pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. With my fabricated knife, I gently scraped out the dried gunk from the tenon end and the horizontal slot. I further cleaned out the stem internals with a shank brush and dish washing liquid soap. Once the stem internals were cleaned, I sanded the entire stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper in preparation for dunking the stem in Before and After Deoxidizer solution.I thereafter, dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making it’s further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. I usually dunk stems of the pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked in a pastel blue arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak overnight for the solution to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I used cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By the next morning, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally.The next morning, after I had cleaned the chamber and shank, I removed the stem that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Magic Eraser pad followed by Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. This now gives a clearer picture of the extent of depth of the bite marks as can be seen in the pictures below. These will definitely require a fill even after I have heated and raised the vulcanite. I need to rebuild the entire button edges on both the upper and lower surface of the stem. Traces of stubborn deep seated oxidation can be seen, especially on the saddle portion of the stem that would need to be eliminated before polishing the stem.To begin repairs to the stem, I sanded the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper till the complete oxidation was eliminated from the stem and saddle portion in particular. I cleaned the entire stem and areas in the bite zone with cotton swab and alcohol. Next, I filled the tooth indentations in the lower surface with a mix of clear CA superglue and activated charcoal and set it aside to cure. After the glue had partially hardened on the lower surface, likewise, I filled the upper surface tooth marks and set the stem aside for the superglue to harden completely. Once the fill has hardened, I shall file and sand the fills to reconstruct the bite zone and the buttons on either surfaces and subsequently match it with the surface of the stem.I turned my attention to address the damage to the stummel. I next decided to smooth the rim top surface dents/dings and the charred surface in 10 o’clock direction extending from inner to outer rim edge. I topped the rim top surface on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently for the progress being made as I hate to loose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. The darkened rim top extending from inner to outer edges can still be seen, though much greatly reduced. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I cleaned the bevel on the inner edge of the rim top surface to minimize the darkening. This helps to mask and address the minor dents and dings that had remained on the rim edges after topping. I am careful so as not to alter the profile of the stummel by excessive topping or creation of the bevels. I am pretty pleased with the appearance of the rim top and edges at this stage. The following pictures show the progress being made and improvements to the inner and outer rim edges.I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. The minor outer rim damage was repaired to a very large extent and so was the darkening during this process. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grain and the clean classic lines of this pipe are worthy of appreciation. At this point in the restoration, I remembered that I had to even out the lower edge of the bowl ring. I firstly cleaned the debris that was lodged in between the rings with a sharp knife after the sanding and polishing process. I folded a piece of 220 grit sand paper and inserting it into the grooves, evened out the edges.Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works it’s magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the Bird’s eye and cross grains with the natural patina of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel which may be insufficiently described in words and be rather seen in person. With the stummel rejuvenation almost complete, save for the final wax polish, I worked the stem. The fill had cured and with a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. To bring a deep shine to the stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. I am pretty happy with the way the stem repairs have shaped up and also the buttons have a nice delicate shape to them. The finished stem is shown below. I used a white correction pen to highlight the stem logo. I smeared the correction ink over the logo and once dried, I gently wiped out the excess ink. The stem logo “H” is now prominently visible.I have now reached the homestretch in this restoration project. To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is ready to join my collection of other Hardcastle’s pipes that I have inherited. I only wish it could share with me it’s story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend or maybe just keep admiring it!! A big thank you to all the readers who have joined me on this path by reading this write up as I restored and completed this project.

Restoring the 23rd Pipe from the Mumbai Bonanza – a Herter’s Angler’s Pipe #147


Blog By Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I had selected to work on was dictated by my desire to work on something that would be a simple and an easy project. I went through the box of pipes for restoration and selected a beautiful lightweight straight billiards that came to us in a lot which I prefer to call as my Mumbai Bonanza!

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spare parts and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot.       This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

This 23rd pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a medium sized straight billiard and is indicated in green color arrow. It has a very solid feel in the hand with a very light weight to it making it ideal to clench all day long. The pipe exudes top notch quality of briar, very high quality of craftsmanship and construction with perfect proportions and classic design! It is stamped on the left of the shank as “HERTER’S” over “ANGLERS PIPE” in block capital letters. The right side of the shank bears the COM stamp “MADE IN” over “ENGLAND” followed by the shape code # 147 towards the stummel end. The stem is stamped as “HERTER’S” in block letters. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. Since I had never heard of, let alone worked on a Herter’s pipe, I was keen to know more about this brand and if possible, establish approximate date/period for this pipe. I first turned to rebornpipes.com, as Steve has chronicled and researched many of the pipe houses and brands over the years working on pipe repairs and restoration. But unfortunately, this time around, there was no information available on this brand. Next, I turned to pipedia.org for information and there is very scant information available about the brand. The info that I gathered is reproduced below:-

Herter’s – Pipedia

Apparently this outdoor outfitting company had pipes made for them? If you have any additional information please add it here, or send it to sethile.pipes@gmail.com and we will add it for you.

Well, that’s all the info that was available about the brand, other than a few pictures of the pipes and stampings that were available, thanks to Dough Valitchka.

Next I turned to pipephil.eu and the only additional information I learned was I quote “Private label of the same name outdoor equipment stores (fishermen, hunters, forest rangers…). A unique model: Herter’s pipes are all of the same shape.”

I have included a screenshot of the relevant part including pictures of the pipe and stampings seen on the pipe. I disagree with the comment “Herter’s pipes are all of the same shape” as there are different shapes available as I found out later during my research.

He-Hh — Pipes : Logos & Markings (pipephil.eu)Still not satisfied with the information gained so far, I did a random search for Herter’s on the web and Google Baba provided me with enough material to learn about Herter’s. The first thing I learned was that Herter’s was a Outdoor Goods Business that was started by George Leonard Herter. The first site I visited was Wikipedia and have reproduced the particulars of George Herter. Here is the link and relevant information that I have reproduced:-

George Leonard Herter – Wikipedia

George Leonard Herter (24 May 1911 – 5 July 1994) of Waseca, Minnesota was the founder of the Herter’s outdoor goods business and an author. His best known books are the Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices series (published in three volumes), which have a cult following today.[1]

In 1937 Herter took his father’s dry goods store and turned it into a mail order outdoor goods business, selling hunting and fishing items through a catalog. He later opened retail outlet stores, which pioneered the style of outdoor goods stores now operated by Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops. The company went bankrupt in 1981.[1]

He is best known for his books, which were self-published and sold through his stores. The New York Times describes the Bull Cook series as his “magnum opus“, “a wild mix of recipes, unsourced claims and unhinged philosophy that went through at least 15 editions between 1960 and 1970.”[1]

How to Get Out of the Rat Race and Live On $10 a Month, despite its title, is an encyclopedic 656-page collection of outdoor and survival skills.

The Bull Cook series and How to Get Out of the Rat Race are credited as co-written by George Leonard Herter and his wife, Berthe E. Herter.

There is a very insightful and informative article in Star Tribune on Herter’s catalog that I came across and here is the link to that article. It is titled, “Herter’s catalog is long gone, but not forgotten”.

Herter’s catalog is long gone, but not forgotten – StarTribune.com

Before there was an Internet or a Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop or Gander Mountain, there was Herter’s — the first outdoors gear juggernaut. Say the word “Herter’s’’ and a legion of mostly men, now middle-aged or older, in Minnesota and nationwide nod their collective heads in fond recollection. Herter’s mail-order catalogs were legendary, hundreds of pages jammed with hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor gear that could be delivered to your doorstep. Those catalogs included lengthy descriptions, instructions and bold, often audacious claims — entertaining readers while also enticing them to buy. Herter’s was the Sears, Roebuck of the outdoor industry and was perhaps best known for its waterfowl products. Launched and headquartered in Waseca, Minn., the company was the inspiration for today’s huge mail-order and big-box outdoor retailers. And at the center of it all was George Herter, an eccentric and reclusive entrepreneur, a marketing genius who made brazen, bombastic claims to boost sales of his products. Though he died more than 20 years ago, he remains an enigma — and one of the most interesting characters in Minnesota history.

“He was an icon in Minnesota, and had a lot to do with influencing waterfowling, not only in Minnesota but throughout the United States,’’ said Doug Lodermeier, 60, of Edina, a waterfowl historian and collector who gave a presentation on Herter’s legacy Saturday at the annual Minnesota Waterfowl Association’s waterfowl symposium in Bloomington.

“It’s easy to dismiss him as a crackpot and goofball, but the reality is he was a genius,’’ Lodermeier said. “He was way ahead of his time.’’

Herter labeled most of his products “world famous” or “model perfect,” and he claimed many were endorsed by the North Star Guides Association — which didn’t exist.

Said Lodermeier: “As a kid I couldn’t wait for the Herter’s catalog to come because me and my friends just rolled on the ground reading his claims and outlandish stories. We loved it — and we bought his stuff.’’

Herter reportedly wrote all of the copy in his catalogs, instruction manuals and pamphlets and also was a prolific author — among his books: “How to Get Out of the Rat Race and Live on $10 a Month.” In a cookbook he wrote, “The Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, was very fond of spinach.’’

Quirkiness aside, Herter built an outdoors empire, starting around 1935 in Waseca. It began as a catalog business that focused on fly-tying, but it grew to include virtually every outdoor product imaginable — and some unimaginable. Eventually Herter opened stores in Waseca, Glenwood, Mitchell, S.D., Beaver Dam, Wis., Iowa City and Iowa Falls, Iowa, and Olympia, Wash.

But after decades of success, a “perfect storm’’ led to Herter’s demise, Lodermeier said: The overexpansion of those retail stores at a time when oil prices were skyrocketing, the Gun Control Act of 1968, which prevented firearms from being bought and sold via the mail, and federal bans on the importation of some feather species Herter’s used for fly tying.

Herter’s went bankrupt in 1977, and the though the man has become mostly forgotten, his name lives on. Cabela’s now owns the brand, and customers can order an assortment of Herter’s gear and ammunition.

George Herter saw combat in Europe during World War II, earned a Purple Heart and may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Reclusive even at the height of his success, Herter apparently didn’t give interviews, and few photographs of him exist. The man who left an indelible mark on the outdoors industry is relatively unknown.

He died in 1994 in Minneapolis at age 83, leaving behind no autobiographies or interviews.

“I don’t want to be known and rarely tell people my right name. I never allow anyone to take my picture,’’ he wrote in one book.

With a fair idea of the enigmatic man behind Herter’s, my quest to know about Anglers Pipe and it’s place in the Outdoor Goods business, pushed me to further research. I came across a blog by Dean Smith, an Angler and collector of fishing collectible. Here is the link to the blog and certain excerpts from his researched blog.

Tackle Treasures: vintage fishing tackle collectibles

About Tackle Treasures…
When most folks think about fishing collectibles they likely conjure up images of fine bamboo rods, early reels, wooden lures with glass eyes, hand carved ice-fishing decoys or perhaps leather trimmed split willow creels. Not me …I like all of the other stuff best …gizmos, bottles, boxes, tins, medals, pins, knives, fly tying vises, advertising items and all sorts of paraphernalia with a fishing theme. Poke around the site for bit …I’m sure you’ll see the attraction after a tour.

Tobacciana | Tackle Treasures

In the old days smoking and outdoor activities seemed to go hand-in-hand …thereby the vast proliferation of smoking products with angling themes. In fact, smoking was so popular that some tackle manufacturers offered smoking products and accessories. For example, both Hardy and Herter’s made “Anglers Pipes”. Now, I am not the least bit certain what distinguishes a normal pipe from an Anglers pipe …but it did give me something else to collect and that’s all that matters. Hardy also made an “Anglers Pipe Reamer” …which begs the question, would it only work on “Anglers Pipes?”

Herter’s Anglers Pipe and Hardy Brothers Pipe Reamer

I Certainly Didn’t Set Out To Collect Herter’s Anglers Pipes …But Now I Have Three …All Different (Annotations are by the owner of the blog, Mr. Dean Smith)

Thus from the above, it is now understood that the pipe on my work table was retailed by Herter’s Outdoor Goods, a mail order venture, that was started by George Leonard Herter in 1935 and which declared bankruptcy in 1977. Herter’s supplied smoking products and accessories, including pipes that were made specifically for the firm by one of the many British pipe makers.

Now that I have a fair idea of the shop from where this pipe was sold and having established the provenance, I moved ahead with the inspection and further restoration of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
This lot had some highly collectible and sought after pipes. That pipes such as this one, an unknown entity amidst all the Preben Holms, Stanwells, Dunhills and Charatan’s in this lot, can make its presence felt is testimony to its quality briar, construction and the legacy of being part of American pipe history and e-commerce.

The pipe has a medium sized bowl with a straight vulcanite stem. The chamber has a thick layer of cake with lava overflow over the rim top surface. There are a few dents/dings over the rim top with the inner and outer rim edges in decent condition. The stummel surface is covered in dirt, dust and grime which hides the beautiful mixed grains of bird’s eye and cross grains. The stummel is dull and lifeless. The mortise appears to be clogged as the draw is hard and constricted. The vulcanite stem has light tooth chatter on either surface in the bite zone and is heavily oxidized. The button edges are slightly worn down with minor bite marks and would benefit from sharpening of the edges. The pipe has a very light weight which makes it ideal for outdoor activity or when you need your hands to be free. The pipe as it sits on my work table is shown below. Detailed Inspection…
The pipe came to us in a very well smoked state and a thick layer of cake buildup is observed in the chamber. The rim top surface is covered in the thick overflow of lava in 6 ‘O’ clock direction and several dents and dings to the rim top surface can be seen, probably caused due to the tapping it must have received at the hands of the previous owner to remove the dottle. This will need to be addressed. The inner and outer rim edges are in decent condition. The draught hole is perfectly at the bottom center and should be a great smoke. The old smells should reduce once the chamber and shank internals are cleaned up.The smooth stummel surface has beautiful grain patterns with a mix of bird’s eye, cross grains and nice swirls. The stummel surface has dulled a bit and appears lifeless due to accumulation of grime, dust and dirt. The mortise and the draught hole are clogged with accumulation of oils and tars making the draw laborious. The fact that there is not a single fill in the stummel surface and it’s light weight points to a very high quality of well cured briar. The straight vulcanite stem has a slight flair out towards the slot end and is deeply oxidized with light tooth chatter on either surface in the bite zone. The insides of the slot and tenon show heavy accumulation of oils and tars. The button edges have worn out a tad bit and also have minute bite marks. The buttons could benefit from sharpening of the edges. The ‘HERTER’S’ logo needs to be refreshed.The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by first cleaning the internals of the stem with bristled pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. I scraped out the dried oils and tars from the tenon end and the slot end with my fabricated knife. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to remove the surface oxidation. It has been our (Abha, my wife and me) experience that sanding a stem before dunking it in to the deoxidizer solution helps in bringing the deep seated oxidation to the surface which in turn make further cleaning a breeze with fantastic results.  I dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making it’s further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. I usually dunk stems of 5- 6 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked with a green arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I worked on the stummel by first reaming the chamber with size 1, 2 and 3 Castleford reamer heads. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of the remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. I gently scraped the rim top surface to remove the lava overflow. The chamber walls are sans any damage. The dents and dings over the rim top are now amply evident. This would need to be addressed.This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and a shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The heap of gunk scraped out from the mortise walls tells the sordid saga of the condition of the shank internals. Well, the shank internals are clean and will be further cleaned once the stummel exterior is cleaned using oil soap and shank brushes.The next morning, Abha removed the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Magic Eraser followed by a Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem.Staying with the stem refurbishment, with a flat head needle file I sharpened the button edges. I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 grit sandpapers and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. I am not able to find the pictures that I had taken of the micromesh polishing and the completed stem and apologize for not including the same.With the stem refurbishment completed and the bowl internals clean, I moved on to clean the exterior of the stummel. I generously applied “Briar Cleaner”, a product that has been developed by my friend Mark Hoover, to the external surface of the bowl and the smooth rim top surface. It works similar to Murphy’s oil soap and needs to be applied to the stummel surface and set aside for 5-10 minutes. The product pulls out all the dirt and grime to the surface making further cleaning easy. I am quite happy with this product. I used a hard bristled tooth brush to scrub the stummel and rim top with the solution. After the scrub with Briar Cleaner solution, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the smooth rim top with a hard bristled toothbrush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with detergent and a hard bristled shank brush. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with beautiful bird’s eye and cross grain patterns on full display. With the stem fill set aside to cure, I started with cleaning of the stummel surface. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded the entire stummel surface. This not only removes the stubborn dirt and grime that remains on the stummel but also evens out the minor dents and dings from the surface. I followed it up with sanding using a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. This helps reduce the sanding marks left behind by the coarser grit sand paper. These sanding marks will be completely eliminated once I am through with micromesh and Blue Diamond polish. Now that I had a fair idea of the extent of topping required to the rim surface, I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to even out the rim surface dents and dings. To further smooth out the scratches left behind by the abrasive 220 grit sand paper, I topped the rim surface on a piece of 400 grit sand paper. The rim top was now a shade lighter than the rest of the stummel surface and would require to be stained dark brown. Since I had packed my stuff for the impending transfer, I was without my stain pens. I remembered an old trick that Steve had taught me to darken the rim top using readily available shoe polish and so I used Dark Tan Cherry shoe polish over the rim top surface and set it out in the sun for the surface to absorb the polish. A dark spot is seen over the rim top in 11 o’clock direction and being natural to the briar I decided to let it be. I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads and paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and provides an opportunity to take early corrective action, if required. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep into the surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works it’s magic and the briar now had a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light hues of the rest of the stummel added an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem in order to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe with a natural finish to the briar looks amazingly beautiful. The pipe feels really light in the hand and has such a perfect balance in the mouth if you like to smoke your pipe clenched. I really appreciate your valuable time spent in walking the distance with me on this restoration.

Refurbishing A Second “Connoisseur, N.Y.C. Ed Burak” Pipe For My Collection.


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

About a year back, I had practiced tenon replacement on a freehand CONNISSEUR, NYC and though the project veered off towards stem replacement, it was an enjoyable and a challenging project. Here is the link to the write up: Continuing My Practice on Tenon Replacement… Working on a Connoisseur, NYC Pipe | rebornpipes

While working on the Connoisseur pipe, I so came to appreciate the very high quality of the briar used and the perfect balance and geometry that Ed Burak, the carver, brings to his pipes that when I came across another Connoisseur I had to get it, if the price was right (I have seen pipes from Ed Burak and Tim West go for big monies). We struck a deal and the pipe made its way across the oceans to India!

It is this pipe that is currently on my work table. It’s a well proportioned bent egg with a beautiful mix of cross and bird’s eye grains over the smooth stummel surface. It is stamped on the left of the shank as “CONNOISSEUR” over “N.Y.C”. The right side is stamped with “Ed Burak” in cursive hand. These stampings have faded in places, but are easily readable save for the letter E in Ed Burak which appears to have worn out. There is no other stamping seen on either the stummel or the stem. I had some recollection of the information I had researched about Ed Burak pipes, but to refresh my memory, I re-visited the write up as well as rebornpipes where, over the years, Steve has chronicled almost all the pipes that were and are in existence. Steve has restored and researched a pipe from this maker. Here is the link for a detailed information on this pipe; https://rebornpipes.com/2015/05/23/restoring-an-ed-burak-connoisseur-tall-stack/

Further down the write up, he also gives out the dating methodology adopted by Ed Burak and the same is reproduced for immediate reference;

I also learned on Pipephil’s website, http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/about-en.html that the stamping did indeed give some information that helped in identifying the period that a particular pipe was made. There I found that one may generally separate Connoisseur pipes’ date of manufacture into three periods.

From late 1960’s until 1974: no stampings
From 1974 until 1981: CONNOISSEUR over N.Y.C.
From 1981 on: CONNOISSEUR over N.Y.C. and Ed Burak’s signature.

Thus from the above information, it’s evident that this beautiful Connoisseur pipe in my hand is from the period post 1981!

Initial Visual Inspection
This is a well proportioned pipe with a nice hand feel and heft to it in a bent egg shape. The bend in the stem is more straightened than what it should be. The stummel has a beautiful bird’s eye and cross grains over the surface. The front of the bowl has a dark spot of charred wood on the outer rim edge. The pipe has been well smoked as evidenced by the thick layer of cake but has been well cared for. The rim top surface is clean with minimal lava overflow. The high quality vulcanite stem is oxidized and has tooth indentations and chatter in the bite zone. This was how the pipe looked when it reached me…this is a nice stout and beautiful looking pipe that should polish up nicely. Detailed Inspection…
The chamber has a thick even layer of dry and hard cake. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be checked and ascertained only after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. However, I do not envisage any damage to the chamber walls. There is very light lava overflow over the rim top surface. The rim top surface is slightly inward sloping and the outer edge is flattened in 6 o’clock direction. The condition of the inner rim edge is pristine. There are very strong and all pervading smells of old tobacco emanating from the chamber. Hopefully this issue should be addressed once the cake has been removed and the mortise is thoroughly cleaned.The stummel boasts of beautiful bird’s eye grains to the sides with cross grains over the front, back and extending over the shank surface. The stummel briar is without a single fill and exudes a very high quality of briar and craftsmanship. The foot of the stummel shows beautiful cross grains and is sans any damage. The stummel has a dry and dull appearance. The front of the bowl has a lightly charred spot in 1 o’clock direction on the outer rim edge. I checked the extent of the damage and was relieved to find the wood is solid to the touch and the char is not very deep seated. My guess is that the stummel must have come in contact with a burning cigarette end in an ashtray. It is fortunate that the burn mark is not very deep but unfortunately it cannot be completely eliminated. The mortise walls are dirty and the sump has accumulation of old dried oils and gunk. The ghosting smells should reduce once the mortise and sump have been cleaned out. The high quality vulcanite saddle stem has deep seated oxidation over the stem surface. A couple of nicks/ chips can be seen over the upper stem surface. Tooth indentations can be seen on the lower surface while the upper surface has minor tooth chatter in the bite zone. The button on either surfaces has a few bite marks. The horizontal slot and the tenon end shows accumulation of oils and tars. The stem profile is more straight and does not match the bent profile of the shank, making it uncomfortable to clench. This would need to be sorted out.The Process
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe by cleaning the internals of the stem using pipe cleaners with isopropyl alcohol (99.9% pure). Once the stem internals were cleaned, with my fabricated knife, I scraped away all the gunk and tars from the slot and tenon end.I flamed the stem’s upper surface and the bite zone on either surfaces with the flame of a lighter to raise the nicks, tooth indentation and chatter from the stem surface. The heat did not completely raise the damage to the surface, but the damaged surface appeared much better than before. I sanded the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to even out the raised surfaces of the stem and also to remove the oxidation from the surface. I wiped the stem surface with Murphy’s Oil soap and a cotton swab to remove the loosened surface oxidation. I filled all the deep tooth chatter and indentations and also the button edges with a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and set the stem aside for the fills to cure. I intended to blend these fills and also sharpen the button edges once the fill had hardened considerably.While the stem fills were curing, I worked on the stummel, reaming the chamber with my PipNet reamer using head sizes 1 to 3. Using my fabricated knife, I further reamed out the cake from places where the PipNet reamer could not reach and followed it with sanding the chamber walls with a 220 grit sand paper. I wiped the chamber with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab to remove all the carbon dust. This final cleaning of the chamber revealed well-seasoned solid chamber walls. Next, I cleaned the mortise with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. With a dental tool, I scrapped away all the dried oils and gunk from the walls of the mortise. I cleaned the well of the mortise with q-tips dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I would continue the cleaning of the mortise during the external cleaning of the stummel surface.I scrubbed the external surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it using a paper towel and a soft cotton cloth. Thereafter, I cleaned the mortise and stummel surface with anti-oil dish washing soap on a shank brush and a tooth brush. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. Once the external stummel surface cleaning was done, I completed the stem repairs. The fills had cured nicely and I began the process of filing the fills and shaping the button end with a flat head needle file. I matched the fills and smoothed out the button edges with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper.Next, I  moved on to shaping the stem to match the profile of the stummel before polishing the stem. I inserted a pipe cleaner through the stem’s air way to prevent it from collapsing once the stem is heated. I first straightened the stem by heating it with a heat gun. To impart the requisite bend, I drew a diagram to mark the plane of the stummel rim top, the present profile of the stem, and thereafter, the exact place and shape of the bend that was needed in dotted lines. What we have to ensure is that the bend in the stem should be parallel to the rim top. I heated the stem with my heat gun till the vulcanite became pliable and gave it the necessary bend. I held it in place till the stem had cooled down a bit and thereafter, held the stem under cold water for the bend to set. I further dry sanded the stem with 400, 600, and 800 grit sand papers and finally wet sanded with 1000 grit sandpaper. I rubbed some extra virgin olive oil into the stem and set it aside to be absorbed. The stem is now a shining piece of vulcanite.With the stem set aside, I decided to tackle the darkened rim top and the charring to the outer edge in 1 o’clock direction. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to sand the rim top surface by moving in from outer rim edge to the the inner. I sanded the charred spot to remove the charred briar and blended it with the rest of the stummel surface. Though not completely eliminated, the charred spot was greatly reduced and unfortunately will always remain as a testimony to the pipe’s journey.I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pad. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looked amazing with a deep shine, the beautiful bird’s eye and cross grains popping over the stummel surface. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar. I rubbed this balm deep into the stummel surface with my fingers and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately worked it’s magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the dark brown hues of the grain contrasting with the rest of the stummel surface. I further buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush. The appearance of the stummel at this stage motivated me further to complete this project at the earliest. I set the stummel aside and all that remained was to polish the stem! I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem at the end of the micromesh polishing cycle. I completed the polishing regime of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Extra Fine Stem polish developed by my friend Mark Hoover, and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem was now nice, smooth and shiny.  To apply the finishing touch, I first mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax was polished out. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. This CONNOISSEUR pipe with it’s beautiful grains, perfectly bent stem and great hand feel was now ready to join my modest collection of American pipes to be enjoyed for years to come. The finished pipe is shown below.