Tag Archives: pipe refurbishing

Breathing Life into a Caminetto Business 127KS Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my worktable is another Caminetto Business pipe but different from the others that I have worked on in that it is a Pot (really quite similar in shape to a Castello 55). With each one that I have worked on I am increasingly impressed by the craftsmanship. The pipe has a rugged rusticated finish and a stepped variegated brown acrylic saddle stem. It had come to us from an antique mall in Utah, USA. It was a filthy pipe with grime and oils ground into the rusticated finish on the bowl. The pipe had some rustic beauty shining through the dust and debris in the valleys of the rough finish. The rustication covered the rim top, bowl and shank with a smooth panel on each side of the shank. The finish was dull and lifeless and dirty from sitting around. There was a very thick cake in the bowl with lava flowing out of the bowl and over the rim top. The lava had filled in the deeper grooves of the finish on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim appeared to be in good condition under the lava coat but we would know more once it was cleaned. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Caminetto in script over BUSINESS. To the right of that toward the stem was the shape number 127 in a cartouche and below that it read KS. On the right side of the shank it was stamped MADE IN ITALY [over] CUCCIAGO (CO). The taper stem was variegated brown and had the classic Caminetto Moustache on the top side. The surface was dirty and there was light tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Jeff took the following photos before he started his cleanup work on the pipe. He took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. You can see the lava overflow and debris in the rustication of the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl. This was a dirty pipe but it was the finish was in great condition. The stem is also very dirty with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful incredibly deep rustication around the bowl. It is the same kind of rough finish that I really like on Castello Sea Rock and Savinelli Capri Pipes. You can see the oil, dust and debris in the finish on both sides of the bowl. There is also some red ink or paint on the sides of the bowl. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above. The stamping is clear and readable. I have worked on several Caminetto in the past so I turned to one of the restorations on the rebornpipes blog and reread the background information on the brand. I am including that info here with this restoration (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/19/pretty-tired-and-dirty-messy-restoration-of-a-caminetto-business-tomahawk-182/).

When the pipe arrived I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c1.html) to see if he included not only information on this Caminetto Business 182. He gave some interesting information about the brand. It was created in 1986 by Guiseppe Ascorti, Luigi Radice and Gianni Davoli as the distributor. It states that in 1979 the first Caminetto period ended with Luigi Radice leaving the company. Guiseppe Ascorti continued making the pipe with his son Roberto. In 1986 the New Caminetto period began by Roberto Ascorti.I turned to Pipedia for more information on the Caminetto and how to date the pipe I had in hand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_Caminetto_(shapes,_stamping,_articles,_etc.). I quote a pertinent paragraph:

Stampings and dating: First off, dating earlier Caminetto’s is nearly impossible. Nevertheless, there were three phases, some in which were much earlier, of development that occurred in the stamping process of Caminetto. Before that though, every pipe had the stamp of Caminetto in one of two ways: Caminetto in script or Caminetto within quotation marks in block letters (I do not know how it was decided which pipe got which stamp, as I have had EARLY Caminetto’s with both)…

The stampings are shown in the photo to the left. The stamping on this pipe is like #2.

…Now, the question is which stamps are earlier and more likely to have been made by Ascorti and/or Radice. The answer is #1. The differences in #2 and #3 seem to be minute, as Cucciago is simply a suburb of Cantu. Pipes stamped like #1 are the most valuable Caminetto’s as they are the earliest production of the brand, as well as what some would claim the most perfect of Ascorti and Radice’s work. The last tidbit is, of course, debatable…

… There is also another factor in stamping, that is, which series the pipe falls in. The majority of Caminetto’s one sees are those of the “Business” series, which are stamped such with their collective shape (see photo of shapes below). Another stamp that sometimes follows the “Business” one is “KS,” which from what I know means “King-size” (this could be wrong, as there are pipes stamped with KS1, KS2, and KS3).

Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had done an amazing job in removing all of the cake and the lava on the rim top. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove the lava and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration.  To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top is very clean with no residual lava in the finish. The inner edges of the bowl look good. The variegated brown acrylic taper stem cleaned up nicely. The surface had some light tooth marks (heavier on the top side than the underside) but the button edge looked really good.   I took a photo of the stamping on the smooth panels on each side of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable and reads as noted above.   I took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the pipe to give an idea of the look of the rustication and the stem. It is going to be a pretty pipe.The bowl looked very good so I did not need to do any further work on it. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers and with a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the nooks and crannies of the deep rustication of the finish on the bowl and shank. I let it sit for about 20 minutes to let it do its magic. I buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration.   The bowl was finished so I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. There was one deeper mark on the top side of the stem near the button. I filled it in with clear super glue and let it cure. I sanded out the light tooth marks and chatter with 200 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I touched up the moustache stamp on the topside of the saddle stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it into the stamp and pressed into it with a toothpick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth and left the gold in the moustache to bring it back into place.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and worked it into the crevices with a shoe brush. I buffed it with a soft cloth and a shoe brush to raise the shine. Once I put the stem in place I would buff it with a clean buffing pad to deepen the shine.  This Caminetto Business 127KS Pot is shaped a lot like a Castello 55 shape and it is a real beauty and has a lot of life left. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I used a soft touch on the rusticated bowl so as not to fill it in with the polishing product. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I carefully buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished buffing with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe looks very good. The rustication is very tactile and feels great in the hand. It is comfortable and light weight. The finished Caminetto Business Pot is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This great looking rusticated Caminetto turned out very well. It should be a great pipe. It will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

Cleaning up a Shalom Israel Pencil Shank Bing Crosby


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a pencil shank Bing Crosby like Billiard that was very dirty and worn. There was grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides and rim top. The medium brown stain was pretty but the grime obscured real look of the grain. This one also came to me in a box of parts that were part of an estate I purchased here in Vancouver. It was stamped on the sides of the shank. The stamping was very readable. It read Shalom in script on the left side mid shank. On the right side it is stamped Briar Israel in a rugby ball shaped COM stamp. The finish had a coat of varnish over the bowl that was thick and shiny. It was peeling on the rim top and heel of the bowl as well in some spots on the front of the bowl. There were a few small fills and pits in the briar but none were obnoxious. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The stem had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that I see in this pipe.  I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of the bowl and stem. The interior the bowl had a moderate cake that overflowed like lava onto the rim top. The stem has light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.     I took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is very readable in the photos below and is as noted above.       I took the stem off the shank and took a photo. The stem has a long spiral stinger apparatus that is pressure fit into the tenon. It really constricts the air flow so I will leave it out once restored and if someone wants it they can reinsert it.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Shalom Pipe Factory pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Shalom_Pipe_Factory). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

Not much is known about Israel’s sole pipe factory though it’s reported to have operated quite successfully on international markets.

Beside the brand “Shalom” the mainstay brand was Alpha – especially well known in the USA. Alpha was popular for a range of fresh and unusual shapes. Series (afaik): Caprice (s), Citation (s), Classic (b), Pedestal (s), Regent, Region (b), Rex (s). (1)

Alpha also produced at least one of its Citation forms for Carey’s “Magic Inch” series.

Mentioned in context with Shalom Pipe Factory was a Danish pipemaker named ‘Muki Liebermann’, who later lived and worked in the USA. Muki is known for his unique briar bending technique and his original shapes that gave inspiration to many of the most praised Danish pipemakers.

Shalom was taken over by Robert L. Marx of New York City, later Sparta, NC, then of Mastercraft. Mastercraft continued the Alpha pipes introducing new lines.

The article also included a flyer page on the brand that gave some more helpful information (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:ShalomAlpha.jpg). The page came courtesy of Doug Valitchka.Now it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the moderate cake back with a PipNet pipe reamer using the smallest cutting head on this petite pipe. The cake was thick and crumbly and came out easily. I followed that by cleaning up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and finished by sanding the chamber walls with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. I scraped the lava off the rim top with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. Along with the lava some of the varnish on the rim top came off as well. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean up the grime in the finish. I rinsed off the debris and the soap with running water and dried the pipe off with a soft towel. I wiped the varnish coat off the bowl with acetone to remove the peeling spots and to have a look at what was underneath the shiny polish. It came off easily. There were a few small fill that showed up but also some amazing grain came up. With the exterior clean it was time to deal with the interior. I scrubbed out the shank and the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pads with a damp cloth.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than a final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a lighter to heat up the gunk holding the stinger in the tenon. I wiggled it out of place with a pair of pliers.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.   I am excited to finish this pencil shank Shalom Pipe Factory Israel Briar Bing Crosby. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and followed that with a quick hand buff with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like grain popping through on the bowl sides and rim top. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem is a great contrast of colour. This light weight Shalom Bing Crosby style pipe is a great looking pipe and it feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman. 

New Life for a Republic Era Peterson’s System 31 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a rusticated Peterson’s System 31 Billiard that was incredibly dirty and worn. The grime on the finish pretty much obscured the rustication around the bowl sides and rim top. The brown stain was tired looking and the grime obscured the texture of the rustication. This one also came to me in a box of parts that were part of an estate I purchased here in Vancouver. It was stamped on the underside of the shank. The stamping was faint but readable. It read Peterson’s in an arc over System on the heel of the bowl followed the shape number 31. After that near the nickel band it read Made in the Republic of Ireland. The nickel band is oxidized and dirty but it has the K & P stamp over Peterson Dublin. The band had some nicks and dents and had been repaired by soldering on the right side (where the green oxidation is shown in the second photo below). It should clean up well. It was in rough condition when I brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top that filled in the rim top and edges. The stem had a long tube I the end that is part of the makeup of the stem. The rest of the stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that I see in this pipe.  I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of the bowl and stem. The interior the bowl had a heavy cake that overflowed like lava onto the rim top filling in the sandblast. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is faint but readable in the photos below and is as noted above.  The nickel ferrule is stamped with three shields with the inscriptions ‘K ‘&’ ‘P’ [over] PETERSON [over] DUBLIN.   I took the stem off the shank and took a photo. The stem has a long tube/funnel that is an integral part of the tenon.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era  – From 1950 to the present time, 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.

During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson Company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.

I did a search on Google about the Peterson System 31 Straight Billiard to see if I could learn any specific information on the shape. I found a link to a pipe for sale on Smokingpipes.com. I quote:

The straight-stemmed Peterson System is quite different from their better-known bent-stem version. Rather than a moisture chamber extending past the transition as part of the shank, akin to that of a cavalier-type pipe, the moisture chamber is drilled beneath the bowl itself, with the tobacco chamber’s draft hole drilled straight downward into it. Further, a metal tube is threaded to the base of the vulcanite stem, to extend into the moisture chamber and provide a better, drier smoke (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/peterson/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=183783).

Paresh had worked on System 31 pipe so I went back and reread his work on that smooth pipe. It was very helpful for the background information included (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/peterson-system-31-pipe/).

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. The K&P mark on the nickel band ties to Kapp & Peterson brings the date to the time between 1950-1964. It was a rusticated Straight billiard with a unique shape and chamber beneath the bottom of the bowl. The finish was stained with a combination of brown and black stains. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I decided to start my restoration work on this one by starting my cleanup of the bowl. I reamed the thick cake back with a PipNet pipe reamer using the smallest cutting head on this petite pipe. The cake was thick and crumbly and came out easily. I followed that by cleaning up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and finish with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. I decided to use the cotton ball and alcohol treatment to remove the stink from the bowl. I stuffed a cotton ball in the bowl of the pipe and twisted a second cotton ball into the shank and sump of the pipe. I filled in the bowl and shank with isopropyl alcohol. I set the pipe aside and let it leach out the tars and oils in the bowl. I let it sit for several hours and then removed the cotton from the bowl and shank. It came with a lot of the tars and oils.   I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean up the crevices in the sandblast finish. I rinsed off the debris and the soap with running water and dried the pipe off with a soft towel.    With the exterior clean it was time to deal with the interior. I scrubbed out the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I also cleaned out the airway in the stem at the same time with pipe cleaners and alcohol.  I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than a final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.  I am excited to finish this petite Republic Era Peterson’s System 31 Straight Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and followed that with a quick hand buff with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the variations of colour in the rustication on the bowl sides and rim top. Added to that the polished nickel ferrule and black vulcanite stem is a great contrast of colour. This small Peterson’s System 31 Straight Billiard is a great looking pipe and it feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman. 

New Life for a Republic Era Peterson’s Kapruf 71 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a sandblast Peteron’s Kapruf Canadian that was incredibly dirty. The grime on the finish pretty much obscured the sandblasted grain around the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stain made the texture of the blast stand out clearly. This one came to me in a box of parts that were part of an estate I purchased here in Vancouver. It was stamped on the underside of the shank. The stamping was readable. It read shape #71 on the heel of the bowl followed by Made in the Republic of Ireland mid shank. That is followed by Peterson’s [over] Kapruf. It was in rough condition when I brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top that filled in the blasted rim top and edges. The stem had a broken tenon that was stuck in the shank. The rest of the stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that I see in this pipe.  I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of the bowl and stem. The interior the bowl had a heavy cake that overflowed like lava onto the rim top filling in the sandblast. The stem has a broken tenon and the taper is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. It has a clear P stamp on the top of the stem.I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era  – From 1950 to the present time, 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.

During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson Company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. It was a Kapruf which sported a rugged sandblast finish with a combination of brown and black stains. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the broken tenon in the shank. When it was removed I would be able to clean out the shank and bowl. I pulled the tenon with a wood screw. I turned it into the airway in the tenon in the shank. Once I had a good grip on the tenon I wiggled it free of the shank. With the tenon removed it was time to clean up the bowl and shank. I reamed the thick cake back with a PipNet pipe reamer using the smallest cutting head on this petite pipe. The cake was thick and crumbly and came out easily. I followed that by cleaning up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and finish with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean up the crevices in the sandblast finish. I rinsed off the debris and the soap with running water and dried the pipe off with a soft towel. With the exterior clean it was time to deal with the interior. I scrubbed out the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I also cleaned out the airway in the stem at the same time with pipe cleaners and alcohol.  I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than a final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to replace the broken tenon before cleaning up the oxidation on the stem surface. I used a series of drill bit to drill out the airway in the stem for the new tenon replacement. I moved carefully because of the angle of the stem surface. There was no room for error. Once I had it opened I cut a piece of rubber tenon material that I had to match the depth of the hole I had drilled and the depth of the mortise. I glued it in place with black super glue and aligned it so that it would be straight in the shank. Once it was aligned I set it aside for the glue to cure. Once the glue cured I dropped the stem in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover and called it a night. This morning I removed the stem from the bath and dried it off with a paper towel. I cleaned out the airway with alcohol and pipe cleaners and other than the P on the top side missing the stem looks very good.  I used some Paper Mate Liquid Paper to touch up the “P” stamping on the top of the stem. Once it cured I scraped off the excess leaving the stamp filled in. I am happy with the way that it came out.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.      I am excited to finish this petite Republic Era Peterson’s Kapruf 71 Canadian. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and followed that with a quick hand buff with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the variations of colour in the sandblast on the bowl sides and rim top. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem is a great contrast of colour. This small Canadian is a great looking pipe and it feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman. 

Cleaning up a new brand for me – a Cowan’s Hand Made Custom Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue came to us from a recent pipe hunt that Jeff and his wife did in Utah. It is one of five pipes that he found in a new spot that he visited. All of the pipes have a similar pattern of rustication around the bowl and shank. It combines both smooth and panels of rustication in a unique pattern. The five pipes include a Bullmoose, a Pot, a straight Apple, a Bulldog and a squat Apple. Four of the five were unsmoked and the fifth one lightly smoked. All had vulcanite stems – both taper and saddle style. The finish on all of them had a coat of shiny varnish that would need to be removed. All were dusty from lack of use. All had precarbonized bowls. All of them except the Bullmoose were stamped on a smooth panel and read Cowan’s [over] Hand Made [over] Custom. With the stamping in a variety of spots on the shank from pipe to pipe. The seller told Jeff he had just got a hold of the group from someone who brought them into the shop. He had no further information on the brand so they were a mystery. When I received the five I took some photos of the lot to give a feel for this group of pipes. Now that you have a sense of the five pipes that came from Cowan’s Hand Made I turn to the one smoked pipe in the lot – a Bullmoose. It is also the only one that does not bear maker’s stamp on the panel provided on the shank side. Everything about it including its inclusion in the group of five say that it was made by Cowan’s. What should have been on the left side is Cowan’s [over] Hand Made [over] Custom. The panel is the correct size for that stamp and matches the proportions of the stamping on all of the other pipes. This one was a Bullmoose shape with a rustication similar to the other pipes but also a bit unique in that it had a variety of smooth spots around the bowl sides. The shank rustication matches that found on the others. The rim top was wide and beveled inward with some rusticated spots around the top. There was a light cake in the bowl and no damage to the inner or outer edges of the rim. The shiny varnish coat was worn but not flaking. The stem was lightly oxidized and has some light tooth chatter on the surface of both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work.He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim top. It had a light cake an the rim top and edges were clean. He took photos of the stem as well to show its general condition. It is lightly oxidized with light chatter on both sides near the button. The next photos show the rustication around the sides of the bowl.  The rusticated portions around the panels matches that found on the other pipes in this group. He took photos of the area where the other pipes are stamped. It seems to me that there is a faint ghost of the stamping visible in the photo below. I turned to Pipedia to see if I could find any specific information on the Cowan’s Brand. I turned to the Pipemakers and Pipe Brands section and looked for the brand under American pipe makers (https://pipedia.org/wiki/American_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_C_-_D). There was a listing but there was not an article on the brand. I quote:

Louis Cowan, an artisan who produced for Marxman after working for Loewe & Co. in England.

I am pretty certain that Louis Cowan is the artisan I was looking for as the pipe was quite a bit like the Marxman pipes that I have worked on. It seems that he was a carver who produced for Marxman and previously for Loewe and Company in England.  Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the general condition. You can see is clean and that it looks good.  The stem is in good condition with a little bit of chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the panel that was where the pipe should have born the stamping that was on the other pipes. With a lens it appears that there is some faint stamping present. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to show that the pipe looked like. I polished the rim top and the smooth panels on the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads to clean up the finish and give it a shine. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cotton cloth. The photos tell the story. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      With both parts of this unique Cowan’s Hand Made Custom Bullmoose finished, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The mix of grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained Cowan’s Hand Made Custom Bullmoose. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This interesting Hand Made Bullmoose will be going onto the rebornpipes store very soon with the other four Cowan’s pipes. If you would like to purchase it and carry on the legacy of the previous pipe smoke send a message or an email to me. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me of this hand made pipe.

Restemming and Rebirthing a Burl King Freehand Bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue came to us from a recent pipe hunt that Jeff and his wife did in Utah. It is an interesting Freehand bowl that has a bridge over the top of the shank that forms a hole for the thumb when smoking. It has a smooth finish with a plateau on the top of the shank and bowl. I would need to find a fancy turned stem that would work with the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left corner of the shank and clearly reads Burl King. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Israel. I think that this will be another nice looking piece once it is cleaned up and restemmed. The bowl is thickly caked with an overflow of lava on the rim top. There were some rustications or blasted areas on the left heel of the bowl and the top right side toward the front of the bowl. The top and edges of the bowl look good but I would be more certain once I reamed and cleaned it. The exterior of the briar was dirty with grime and dust. Jeff took photos of the pipe before my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. He took a photo of the plateau rim top to show the cake in the bowl, the lava on the rim top and the inner edge.  There was also a varnish coat on the briar around the bowl and rim top.The next photos show the rustication/blasted portions of the bowl. There seems to be some putty in the rustication on the right side of the bowl top.    He took photos of the stamping on the left corner of the shank and the underside. It is faint but readable in the photo below and is as noted above.I turned to Pipedia to read about Burl King pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Burl_King). I quote the entirety of the article and have included the advertisement that connects the pipe to Borkum Riff tobacco.

We need more information about Burl King. We can confirm that it was at one time a pipe used for promotion of Borkum Riff tobacco, as reported by Bob Taylor of the Seattle Pipe Club, who mailed in a coupon and received the pipe with a Postmark of Jan. 11, ’78, and a return address of Sparta, N. C., which indicates it may have come from the Dr. Grabow/Sparta Industries plant.

Bob recently noticed his “Burl King” was also marked, made in Israel, so it was likely made by the Shalom Pipe Factory, though apparently distributed through Sparta Industries. The box shipped for 50 cents and the return address said “After 5 days return to P. O. Box 21882 Greensboro, N. CC. 27240.” So apparently these pipes were made by Shalom, but distributed for Borkum Riff by Sparta Industries.

Others have indicated Burl King pipes were also made by Wally Frank.

I love the description as it truly captures the shape and beauty of this freehand pipe. The article above stated that the pipe is handcrafted by artists so that each one is a unique piece. It is cut from the plateau to leave that exposed on the top of the rim and down the shank to the end. It has a thumb hole cut for comfort in holding it while smoking. It is suggested that pipe sold for $60. Now to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.     I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the general condition. You can see the darkening around the inner edge but otherwise it looks good. The plateau extends all the way down the shank bridge and ends at the mortise end.I found two different fancy stems in my stem can that were potential candidates for the pipe. The first one had a tenon that was too small. The second was a bit larger and would need to be turned to sit in the mortise properly. I drilled out the airway to hold the pin on the PIMO tool and then used the PIMO tenon turning tool and took the tenon down until it had a snug fit in the mortise. Once I had the tenon turned I inserted it in the mortise and took photos of the pipe at this point. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads to clean up the finish and give it a shine. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cotton cloth. The photos tell the story. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter on the stem surface and the light oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper and then started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The tenon is still rough at this point. I sanded out the ridges and bumps left behind when I turned it but there is still work to do on it.I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     With both parts of this unique Burl King Freehand finished, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The mix of grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained Burl King Freehand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This interestingly made Freehand will be going onto the rebornpipes store very soon. If you would like to purchase it and carry on the legacy of the previous pipe smoke send a message or an email to me. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this older Shalom Pipe Factory, Israel pipe.

Rebirthing a Weber Blackthorne Sandblast 115 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is another mystery pipe to me. I took it in a trade for some repair work I am sure but I am not sure when I received it or who it came from. This one is a sandblast Billiard pipe with a tapered stem. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and clearly reads Blackthorne arched over Weber in an oval. That is followed by Imported Briar [over] the shape number 115. The taper stem is vulcanite and has metal inserted Weber oval logo on the left side. I think that this will be another nice looking piece once it is cleaned up. The bowl is thickly caked with a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. The top and edges of the bowl look good but I would be more certain once I reamed and cleaned it. The exterior of the briar was dirty with grime and dust. The stem has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides. It is lightly oxidized, calcified and dirty. I took photos of the pipe before my cleanup work They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that I see in this pipe. I took a photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl, the lava on the rim top and the inner edge.  The stem was a very good fit to the shank. It was oxidized, calcified and had debris stuck to the surface of the vulcanite. It also shows the tooth marks on the stem and on the button surface.  I took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is faint but readable in the photo below and is as noted above.I turned to Pipedia to see what I could learn about the Blackthorne pipe line made by Weber Pipe Company (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Weber_Pipe_Co). I have included a page from a catalogue shown in the article.I expanded the section from the above page that was about the Weber Blackthorne pipe. It reads as follows:

This Weber Blackthorne is striking in its individual beauty, extreme lightweight and cool smoking. And at just $5 it’s a value you can’t beat anywhere.

After the fine, age-old imported briar is turned, each bowl is subjected to a raging sand storm. This etches away all soft briar leaving a hard, durable lightweight bowl of rare beauty and sweetness. Note extra wide blue-black, satin smooth vulcanite stem, dry smoking condenser tube and a bowl lining of activated charcoal.

I love the description as it truly captures the beauty of the Weber Blackthorne pipe. It is also one of the first pipes I restored many years ago. The pipe is lightweight and well blasted. It looks very good. Now it was time to work on it.

I have to tell you I am spoiled with having Jeff do all the heavy clean up work on pipes. I almost forgot that on this one and started to work on the finish. I stopped myself when I realized I was working with a dirty pipe. I reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe reamer to remove the cake as a whole. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and finished by sanding the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel. I removed the stinger apparatus from the stem and put the stem in a bath of Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover made by Briarville Pipe Repair and Restoration Company. It soaked while I worked on the bowl. After about 30 minutes of soaking I removed it from the bath and dried it off with a paper towel and wiped away the oxidation.I scrubbed the interior of the bowl shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the surface of the bowl. I rinsed the bowl off with running water to remove the grime and the soap. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.    

With both parts of the Weber Blackthorne 115 Sandblast Billiard finished, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich mixed black and brown sandblast finish came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained Weber Billiard. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This beautiful billiard will be going onto the rebornpipes store. If you would like to purchase it and carry on the legacy of the previous pipe smoke send a message or an email to me. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this older American Made pipe.

Cleaning Up a GIGI  Collection Italia  Nature 428 Bent Plateau Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was purchased from an estate that we bought from the estate of a pipe man from Florida, USA. The pipe is rusticated with a tree bark like finish that is stained black and brown. It is a bent billiard shaped pipe with saddle stem. The stem has a faint GIGI stamp on the right side of the shank. The pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank and reads GIGI [over] Collection [over] Italia. Toward the shank end it is stamped with the shape number 428 [over] Nature [over] Made in Italy. There was a lot of grime and dust ground into the deep rusticated finish. The bowl was heavily caked and there was a lava coat flowing onto the plateau rim top and the inner edge of the rim. The inside and outside edges looked to be in good condition but we would know more once Jeff had cleaned it. The stem was oxidized on the topside. It was lightly calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The button surface itself was also damaged with tooth marks. The stem was stamped GIGI in faint stamping. The pipe showed a lot of promise and had an interesting tree bark finish under the dirty grime. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   He took photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe. The thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the plateau rim top and inner edge is visible. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and the chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the rustication patterns around the bowl. The stamping on the underside of the shank clear and readable and read as noted above. I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the GIGI brand and the carver who had made the pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-g3.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section from the site. The information I found was as follows:

Artisan: Luigi “Gigi” Crugnola made at Gigi Pipe Via Rovera, 40 21026 Gavirate Oltrona al Lago (VA).

Now I knew that the pipe was made by Luigi “GIGI” Crugnola. That was the extent of the information on that site.I turned to Pipedia to see if I could gain a bit more information on the brand as it generally has a great digest of the history of the brand and maker (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Gigi). I quote the article in full below:

Luigi “Gigi” Crugnola was born in 1934, the same year Giorgio Rovera founded a company in his own name in Varese, Italy along with partners Angelo and Adele Bianchi, who also happened to be Luigi Crugnola’s Uncle and Mother, respectively. The company produced pipes for 30 years, largely exported to America and elsewhere in the world. Crugnola took over the company in 1964 with the death of Angelo Bianchi, changing the name soon after to his own nickname Gigi, and continues to run the company today. The vast majority of Gigi pipes continue to be made for export.

What I learned is that the pipe was made post 1964 and was in all likelihood made for export. We purchased them from the US so indeed they were exported. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The plateau rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl appear to be in good condition. The stem surface was clean and the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button were very visible.    The stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It would clean up and be a nice looking pipe.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.       I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a lighter to try to lift the dents. I worked fairly well with the lighter marks but left behind several on each stem surface. I filled them in with clear super glue and set it aside to cure. Once they cured I smoothed them out and recut the button edge with a needle file. I sanded out the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper on the stem top and underside near the button. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This GIGI Collection Italia Nature 428 Bent Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich, brown and black stained finish around the bowl and the plateau rim top is quite beautiful and works well with the polished vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GIGI Nature Bent Billiard sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Breathing Life into a Made in England Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was purchased from an antique dealer in Ancram, New York, USA.  The pipe is smooth, nicely grained Oom Paul shaped pipe with what appears to be a replacement saddle stem. The shank had been sanded narrow at the end to match the stem. The pipe is stamped on the right side of the shank and reads Made In England. There was a lot of grime and dust ground into the smooth finish. The bowl was heavily caked and there was a light lava coat flowing onto the rim top and the inner edge of the rim. The inside and outside edges looked to be in good condition but we would know more once Jeff had cleaned it. The stem was oxidized on the topside. It was lightly calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The stem was unstamped and unmarked. The pipe showed a lot of promise and great grain under the dirty grime. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   He took photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe. The thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the rim top and inner edge is visible. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and the chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside.      Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the grain around the bowl.  The stamping on the right side of the shank clear and readable and read as noted above. The Made in England stamping on the shank is not enough to go on it terms of a make. Charatan, Barling and Comoy’s all made pipes with just this stamping so I was not close to finding the maker of this one. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl appear to be in ok condition. The stem surface looked good with some remaining oxidation and some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stamping on side of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above.  You can also see the poor fit of the stem to the shank and the slight tapering that has been done to the shank end. This will need to be addressed in the restoration of the pipe. The grain is quite stunning.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It would clean up and be a gorgeous pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe.  I decided to deal with the misshaped shank and the poorly fit replacement stem. I could not remove any of the briar without damaging the stamping on the shank so I decided to put a thin brass band on the shank end to provide a good seat for the stem and adjust the fit of the pipe to the shank end. I went through my bands and found one that fit the shank well. I pressed it onto the shank end. I put the stem back on the pipe and took photos to show the new look of the pipe. I really like the band on the shank as it added a touch of class to the look of the pipe. I polished the briar of the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cotton pad.  I polished the silver band with a jeweler’s cloth after the first three pads.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.     I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper on the stem top and underside near the button. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Made in England Oom Paul is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich, brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the gorgeous mix of cross and birdseye grain. The finish works well with the decorative brass band and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished English Made Oom Paul sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood 216 EL Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction in Nampa, Idaho, USA.  The pipe is smooth, nicely grained Billiard shaped pipe with a saddle stem. The pipe is stamped on left side of the shank and reads Barling’s [arched over] Make [over] Ye Olde Wood [over]the shape number 216. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made In England followed by EL. There was a lot of grime and dust ground into the smooth finish. There was also a large U shaped crack that went up each side and met on the underside of the shank (you will see photos of the crack below). The pipe had been repaired by gluing the chunk of briar in place and banding the shank with a Sterling Silver band. The bowl was heavily caked and there was a lava coat flowing onto the rim top and the inner edge of the rim. The inside and outside edges looked to be in good condition but we would know more once Jeff had cleaned it. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The stem was stamped on the topside with the Barling Cross and on the underside and read REGD 98046. The stamping was readable. The pipe showed a lot of promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   He took photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe. The thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the rim top and inner edge is visible. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and the chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the grain around the bowl.  The stamping on the right and left side of the shank are clear and readable and read as noted above. You can also see the Barling Cross stamp on the top of the saddle stem. There is no picture of the Regd number on the underside.The above photos also show the crack in the shank. I am including them again so you can see the downward turn on the crack on each side and the way that it crosses the underside of the shank forming a U-shaped crack that certainly came free from the shank. It had obviously been glued back in place and then the Sterling Silver band had been glued in place on the shank end to bind it all together. I have inserted yellow arrows in the photos below to identify the path of the crack.I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-barling.html) to see if I could find a listing that had the same or similar stamping on the pipe. The stamping is the same other than the shape number. The pipe that I am working on has a shape number on the shank in the same location as the photo below. Barling’s [arched over] Make [over] Ye Olde Wood [over] shape number 216. On the right side Made in England was followed by EL stamp in a pattern like that shown in the screen capture below.Pipedia gives a great history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling) that is well worth reading. I looked specifically for the Patent Reg’d Stamp and found that the stamping on the stem of the one I was working on was a US Patent number for the stem.

REG’D 98 046 – US patent number – 1936 – 1949

I also worked through the different eras of the Barling pipes. I found a section on redefining the eras and quote from that section as followed:

Family Era 1912 – 1962: Pipes made by the Barling family while it either owned or managed B. Barling & Sons.

Corporate Era 1962 – the Present: Pipes made after the family left off managing the company, beginning with the revised product grades and revised nomenclature that were introduced in the 1962 Dealers’ Catalog.

The Family Era pipes are highly sought after by collectors and have excellent smoking and aesthetic qualities. These pipes are famous for the “old wood” from which they were made. I’m including the 1962 “Barling’s Make” pipes in this category because, initially, they were made while the Family still ran the business. Montague Barling was still President, and Williamson-Barling was still General Manager.

These 1962 pipes were made by the same craftsman from the same materials, as the earlier product. Some of them are stamped with both the old and new model numbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now I knew a bit about the pipe I was working on. Because of the Patent stamping on the stem I knew that it was made between 1936-1949. The use of the EL stamp also fits this time period. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl appear to be in ok condition. There is some darkening on the back side of the inner edge and top and some burn damage on the front inner edge that will need to be addressed. The stem surface looked good with some remaining oxidation and some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    The stamping on sides of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It would clean up and be a gorgeous pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe.  I took photos of the crack in shank to show how it looks after cleanup. The excess glue that was on the shank is gone and the crack looks clean. There is a slight ridge on the crack on the underside of the shank. I sanded out the high spots on the ridge on the underside of the shank with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface. I did the same on the sides of the shank without damaging the stamping on the shank sides.Now it was time to address the damage on the inside of the front edge of the rim and the darkening on the top of the bowl. I gave the edge a slight bevel to obscure the damage. I sanded the rim top with a worn piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening.I polished the briar of the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cotton pad.  I polished the silver band with a jeweler’s cloth after the first three pads. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside to work on the stem. I put the stem in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover from Briarville USA. I am still experimenting with the product to remove the oxidation that remained on the stem. I let it soak for 1 hour and took it out of the bath and wiped it down with a paper towel. The photos show the stem at this point.  I used some Rub’n Buff Antique gold to touch up the stamps because they were so faint that the white filler that I usually used would not even show on the stem. The stem was in good condition and the tooth marks were light so I figured they would polish out fairly easily. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.       This Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood 216 EL Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich, brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the gorgeous mix of cross and birdseye grain. The finish works well with the polished vulcanite patented saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood Saddle Billiard sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!